Port Chester rounding into form after 5-2 win over Ossining

Port Chester rounding into form after 5-2 win over Ossining

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Port Chester rounding into form after 5-2 win over Ossining

Ossining goal keeper Luke DeAngelis tumbles after failing to stop a shot by Port Chester's Francisco Romero for the first goal of the game during a varsity soccer game at Ossining High School Oct. 14, 2016.

Ossining goal keeper Luke DeAngelis tumbles after failing to stop a shot by Port Chester’s Francisco Romero for the first goal of the game during a varsity soccer game at Ossining High School Oct. 14, 2016.

OSSINING – Having the reputation as one of the best teams in Section 1 year in and year out, one could say that Port Chester is having a down year this season.

Already guaranteed to not have a winning record in the regular season, the Rams have played with the (in) consistency one would expect from a starting lineup that is mostly new following the graduations from last year’s loaded senior class.

Those problems, however, weren’t too apparent from start to finish in their game Friday. Port Chester’s quick-passing, possession-based attack shined in a 5-2 win over Ossining as the Rams improved to 6-8.

“Each game, I think we’re getting better,” senior midfielder Alex Cayetano said. “Our style of play is getting better, we’re getting to know each other more. We’re getting used to playing with each other.”

Only five minutes in, the Rams established control, with Selvin Estrada setting up Francisco Romero in front to open the scoring.

“We’re passing it way better than we used to,” Cayetano said. “We’re keeping the ball better, and we’re not committing any mistakes that we were committing at the beginning of the year.”

While teams generally feel more comfortable playing on their home field, the rough grass field at Port Chester isn’t anywhere near as conducive to cleaner play as compared to the turf field at Ossining.

That especially played to the Rams’ advantage in this game.

“Most of our games away are on turf fields; the ball rolls smoother,” junior forward Bryan Narvaez said. “It’s a better game than grass. It’s a more confident game.”

After the shock of the early goal, Ossining fought back and stayed within striking distance for most of the game. Senior forward Miguel Marra tied the score 1-1 in the 25th minute, and brought the Pride to within 3-2 in the 63rd minute after finishing off a lead pass from younger brother Mateo.

Having started off the year 5-0-1, including a win over defending Class AA sectional champs Arlington, the Pride have gone 2-6 since.

“We’ve been playing well, we’ve been losing games we shouldn’t lose, to be honest,” said Marra, who has 12 goals on the season. “These last two losses have been really inexcusable. We aren’t running out of gas, but we’re getting really unlucky.”

With sectionals coming up, Port Chester won’t be a high seed, maybe an unusual sight for the program. The Rams, thanks to improving chemistry and help from some recent JV call-ups such as sophomore midfielder Alejandro Llanos, think they can be as dangerous as ever in the postseason.

In the short-term, however, the focus shifts to Saturday: a long afternoon drive up to Dutchess County to take on Arlington.

“We’re ready for it; we’re a good team, so you got to take it day-by-day,” Narvaez said. “Arlington tomorrow, hopefully it goes well.”

Player of the game: Bryan Narvaez, Port Chester. The junior forward buried a shot during a scrum in front of the net to put Port Chester up 2-1 in the 37th minute. In the second half, he finished off a pass from Romero in front, tucking his shot lower right corner, to put the Rams up 3-1 in the 48th minute.

Turning point: With Ossining pressing following Marra’s second goal, the Pride nearly tied it 3-3 in the 68th minute. Mateo Marra flicked a header in the box right to older brother Miguel, who took an awkward-looking right-footed shot from the right side that clanged off the left post.

With 9:44 left, Cayetano hoofed in a shot from inside the box to put Port Chester up 4-2, with Jessi Villa providing the Rams with another insurance goal with 2:17 left.

Quotable: “We’ve really been kind of looking for an identity all year,” Port Chester head coach John Cafaldo said. “We’ll play a good game, and then play a game where you don’t recognize us. I’m hoping things are turning; we need to make a run, I’ve been preaching to the guys that it can happen. Teams have come from 15-, 16-seeds to make deep runs in the playoffs, and from what I’ve seen and what I hear, it’s pretty wide open.”

Ossining's Steven Gamarra and Ryan Lynch battle Port Chester's Selvin Estrada for the ball during a varsity soccer game at Ossining High School Oct. 14, 2016.

Ossining’s Steven Gamarra and Ryan Lynch battle Port Chester’s Selvin Estrada for the ball during a varsity soccer game at Ossining High School Oct. 14, 2016.

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