Many have said this before… that Asteras FC has a great team, great management and when everything comes together it is an unstoppable force. In the last two years Asteras FC has been two for two in promotions and is currently in a title race for promotion to the LISFL Premiere Division. All that needs to be done is for the players and coaches to remain focused and continue winning games. This is exactly what happened in the match of Asteras FC and Glen Cove Avellino which saw the “Greeks in Red” as the victors (2-1). Even with notable absences such as captain Dimitrios Nikitopoulos, Jose Gomez, Cornel White and Nikos Psarras, the “Greeks in Red” managed to secure the three points and climb the ladder to second place. A huge thank you also goes to the supporters that came to watch the match as well the Asteras FC sponsors: King Souvlaki, Mediterranean Foods, Lysi Consulting Services, Melrose Ballroom, Digital Habitat and Diaza Sportswear.
On to the match…
Coach Kostas Tatos stayed true to his offensive style and started the match with a classic 4-3-3. For the first ten minutes of the match Asteras FC pressed high looking for an early goal but a composed Glen Cove back line was able to fend off each Asteras FC build up. In a bizarre counter attack, by Glen Cove, which saw a miss kicked cross head toward the Asteras goal, Keeper Constantine Pougiouklidis mistimed the speed of the ball on the wet surface and was unable to fully control the ball. A costly error which left the ball in front of the net with only the Glen Cove forward present to tap it in and make it 1-0 at the 15th minute.
Where many teams would put their heads down and lose confidence… the opposite happened to Asteras FC. Succumbing to a goal actually energized Asteras FC as if it was a sleeping giant that was awaken from his sleep. For the following 30 minutes the Glen Cove attack was non existent and the game was played in the away teams half. In the 27th minute, playmaker Ralph Hoyos found striker Karolos Karolides in stride on the right side of the field with a beautifully placed long ball. With a defender tight on Karolides, a quick shot was enough to beat the defender and goalie to bring Asteras even (1-1).
Asteras was not done and 5 minutes later a short corner kick to Timmy Vlahos saw him pass two players and enter the box only to be taken down by a defender… some how some way… a penalty was not awarded. But this is soccer and some times you don’t get the calls you want. Going into the half Asteras couldn’t ask for a better first half and during halftime discussed two things “trust and patience”.
In the second half, to Asteras surprise, a different Glen Cove showed up to play. It is safe to say that Glen Cove may have been the better team in the second half but keeper “King Con” and a strong back line of Gerasimos Zhsimatos, Giannis Lolos, Nikolaos Tornabinis, Demetri Mihalatos, Jason Silva and Nikolaos Kaouris kept Asteras secure like Fort Knox.
Although, it was evident Captain Nikitopoulos would’ve been a breathe of fresh air for the Greeks, it was Captain Timmy Vlahos that led the Greeks from the midfield. It was also Timmy Vlahos pass from the midfield, that split two defenders to find striker Karolides alone on a one on one with Glen Cove Goalie. Karolides calmly placed the ball passed the goalie at the 65th minute and gave Asteras the 2-1 lead. For the remaining 25 minutes the match was all Glen Cove, as the Avellinos pushed for an equalizer.
Coach Tatos exhausted all his substitutions to bolster the back line and secure the win but this was almost not enough and in the 85th minute Glen Cove almost found the back of the net but a double save from Constantine Pougiouklidis secured the win for Asteras.
A header off a corner by Glen Cove was almost certainly heading in but a finger tip save by “King Con” followed by a shot from inside the six, which Constantine was again able to save (ultimately cleared by Lolos) was enough for Asteras to see through the three points and second place in standings. Asteras FC now sit in second place and only 2 points behind leaders NY Blue Angels.
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