In its inaugural season, Stockade went 5-8-3, a reasonably successful start for a brand new program still (pardon the pun) finding its footing, both on the pitch and in the community. It took until the 16th game for the team to win that fifth game; a win this weekend in just their seventh game of 2017 would already put them at five wins, with one draw and an opening day loss making up the difference.
Halfway through this season, it’s clear where the differences lie for Kingston. Most of the team’s best players from 2016 are still on the roster, and the new faces are making their mark too. The team’s depth was on display over the weekend, when seven different players scored at least one goal in the club’s 9-1 advantage over a two-game set.
It began before a crowd of nearly 700 at Dietz Stadium on Saturday, June 3, when Kingston duplicated their scoring total against New York Athletic Club from two weeks earlier in a 4-1 result. As they did all weekend, the Stockade side struck early and struck often, with a solid strike through two defenders and the goalkeeper from Victor Guirma seven minutes into the action.
David Nkansah-Siriboe, who plays college soccer at Marist, broke out the football equivalent of a Steph Curry crossover at the 28-minute mark when he found himself with no one but the keeper between him and the goal.
The score remained 2-0 until the floodgates opened late in the second half, with Scott Zobre picking up a deflection, calmly settling the ball, then drilling it into the back of the net at 82 minutes in.
Not to be outdone, Pedro Espindola capped Stockade’s scoring a minute later with a delightful chip shot over NYAC’s keeper that arced in just below the crossbar.
New York Athletic Club spoiled a clean sheet for David Giddings in goal when Laurin Vogel connected at 85 minutes in.
The following day, Kingston’s bus rolled in to Providence for a rematch with a Rhode Island Reds side they’d beaten at Dietz 2-0 two weeks earlier. Expecting a significant challenge and hoping to come home with at least a draw, Stockade ran away with the match, winning 5-0 and capping a busy six-point weekend.
As they had one day earlier, Kingston settled in early, with Michael Creswick connecting just eight minutes in. Five minutes later, Eric Fortier converted a volley to give Stockade a 2-0 advantage. Just before the half, Matt Koziol headed the ball in to give Kingston a greater cushion after intermission.
In the second half, Espindola shook the Reds’ goalkeeper up at the 54th minute, and Joe Bogart sealed the scoring at 88 minutes off an assist from Matel Anasta.
“Not bad, right?” said Stockade FC Chairman Dennis Crowley of the six-point weekend. “That was totally unexpected. To come out and get a huge win on Saturday was awesome. And then to go down to Rhode Island and win that match, that was amazing. I was like, if we get a draw out of [Rhode Island], I’ll be psyched. But to get a big win, just phenomenal.”
Over the two games, Kingston saw eight different players score goals, a credit not only to a very talented roster, but the work of a coaching staff, led by head coach David Lindholm, who helped set them up for success. On Saturday, several players who hadn’t gotten into a game yet were given their shot to start, and they delivered the goods.
“I want to give them a ton of credit for coming out and playing really well and setting the tone for the whole weekend,” said Lindholm. “Everybody came out ready to play and performed phenomenally well. Now I know that they’re ready and able to play at this level. And it signals to the guys that have been regular starters that they can’t slack off, and they have to keep working in practice and play their best in games, otherwise they’re going to lose their spots to the players that played well on Saturday. It says we can score goals from anywhere and we’re dangerous with any configuration of players on the field.”
Kingston sits just off the top of the Atlantic White table, first in total points with 13, but a narrow second to Boston City FC, a team that’s played one fewer game, in points-per-game (2.2 to 2.1667). A win for Stockade this weekend at Dietz before a crowd of supporters would put the club free and clear, at least for now. Both teams have found their offensive rhythm, with Kingston scoring 18 goals over its six games, and Boston 15 over its five. At just 12 games in total, every game in the regular season is important. But it’s fair to say this visit from Boston on Saturday, June 10 at 5 p.m. is perhaps just a little bit more important than those which have come before.
“They’re undefeated right now,” Crowley said. “But we’ll be in great form. The guys will be rested. We’re coming off a pair of wins. There will be a crowd there. There’s no reason we can’t win this game.”
Lindholm agreed, though he acknowledged that it won’t be easy. “Boston is going to be a test,” he said. “It’s a top of the table clash, and they were a really great team last year and they’ve had strong results this year.”