Patriots end Tigers’ run in LVSSL
The Northwestern boys soccer team finished with just two losses in summer league play, including the playoffs.
One team was responsible for both of those setbacks.
Freedom (Patriot FC) pulled away from Northwestern (New Tripoli Bank FC), the top team in the Lehigh Valley Summer Soccer League Group B, with three goals in the second half for a 4-2 victory in the quarterfinal round of the LVSSL playoffs on Tuesday night at Lehigh University’s Campus Fields.
The Tigers went 6-1-2 in regular season play, with their only loss coming against Freedom by a 2-1 score back on June 24. Nearly a month later, Freedom turned out to be Northwestern’s kryptonite once again in the Lehigh Valley Summer Soccer League (LVSSL) quarterfinals round of the playoffs.
“That’s the only team that beat us all summer,” said Northwestern assistant coach Mike Rebert, who filled in for head coach Nate Hunsicker. “They beat us 2-1 earlier in the summer, and then 4-2 today. They play very aggressive. They are physical and aggressive. They’re always a tough team to play.”
The Tigers went in front late in the first half with a goal in the final seconds, securing a 2-1 lead just before the halftime whistle sounded. But Rebert’s message at halftime wasn’t as well-received as the Tigers would’ve liked.
Freedom, instead, took control in the second half. It turns out the game-tying goal in the opening minutes of the second half was just the start of what the Patriots had in store for the top seed out of Group B.
About five minutes later, Freedom scored again to take its first lead. A deep ball from the Patriots’ back line took a few bounces, and after some confusion from the Tigers’ defense and goalkeeper, a Patriot forward punched in the score for a 3-2 advantage.
“We were up 2-1 at the half, and then they scored three straight on us,” said Rebert. “We talked about coming out of halftime with some fire, and that the next goal is a big goal. It didn’t work out for us. They got one on us within probably the first five minutes [of the second half], and that gave them a little bit of momentum.”
Roughly three minutes later, Freedom capitalized on a 4-on-1 opportunity for its fourth goal of the night to put the game out of reach.
“I think our guys played hard the whole way,” Rebert said. “What we told them at the end was that it was two very even teams, and they had a couple of bounces and flicks that went their way and they cashed in. We had a handful of opportunities, and we didn’t cash in.”
While the summer league is over for Northwestern, the Tigers will continue to work out until fall practices start up next month. Right now, the Tigers have optional workouts open five days a week (three of practice and two of lifting).