Kingston Stockade FC had its first ever taste of US Open Cup action on Wednesday night, falling to the Long Island Rough Riders 6-3 in double overtime on a chilly night in Massapequa Park. Kingston went up 2-0 before the Rough Riders found their rhythm in the second half.
Bruce Jeter opened the scoring for Stockade with a tap in at 11 minutes, and Michael Creswick firing a rocket through at 52 minutes. But with the team losing Pedro Espindola to a hamstring injury around 20 minutes in, the offensive rhythm was undone. Matt Koziol drilled a penalty shot deep into the second overtime, but that was the end of the line.
One might expect Stockade FC to be a bundle of nerves making their Lamar Hunt Open Cup debut, and a paperwork snafu that left a reserve off the game time roster was perhaps indicative of a pervading level of anxiety. But the team that took the pitch was anything but nervous, shaking off a pair of preseason losses to look like a team on a mission through the first half and early in the second before they began to flag. Nervous, no. But eventually gassed. Kingston goalkeeper Steve Skonieczny turned away several Long Island shots but the odds eventually caught up with him. Stockade ran out of chances, but they never ran out of spirit.
Kingston faced a litany of cheap shots, both on and off the pitch. Long Island got chippy after going down early, both in their hard tackles and unsubtle shoves and with one another, patience wearing thin as the Kingston defense proved impenetrable. But there was foul play off the field too, with no functional showers in the locker room, a clear violation of Open Cup rules.
Kingston was cheered on by a modest but vocal throng of fans in the visitor’s bleachers.
The team won’t have much time to stew over the loss, with the National Premier Soccer League season set to start at Dietz Stadium on Saturday, May 12 with a visit from the Rhode Island Reds.