Evans’ game-winning goal beats Freedom
Justin Evans scored just one of Parkland’s four goals last Saturday afternoon, but his was the last and the game-winner in a 4-3 victory over Freedom in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference quarterfinals at Bethlehem Area School District Stadium.
“It was a big goal for me and for the team,” Evans said. “It was the game-winner so it helped my team win. That’s what matters most, that we’re moving on.”
In the opening 30 minutes it looked as if Freedom was going to win this one rather easily.
AJ Elkadousi and Steven Riad put the Patriots in front 2-0 with goals less than five minutes apart.
But Parkland scored the next three, and Evans’ broke another tie with his late goal to send the Trojans to the semifinals Tuesday night against Emmaus.
“It’s the game that we are looking forward to most, because we always love playing Emmaus,” said Evans.
Elkadousi ripped a shot just outside of the 18 that took a deflection off the leg of a Trojan defender and left goalkeeper Jacob Varrato (4 saves) helpless.
Varrato’s misfortunes continued just five minutes later. The sophomore misplaced a kick that landed at the feet of Michael Silva. Silva passed to Riad, who faked a shot and waited for his defender to slide by, then slotted it home for a 2-0 Freedom lead.
But just as everyone thought the fourth-seeded Patriots would cruise to a big win, the fifth-seeded Trojans struck back with two of their own just before halftime.
A ball played from Parkland’s side of the field came off the head of Evans onto the path of Josh Kiser, who waited for the ball to come down off a skip and placed his shot past John Eltringham (5 saves).
A minute and a half later, Parkland set up a play from a free kick from about 30 yards away. Peter Kwakye-Ackah sent the ball in, and Kiser once again was there for his second goal in less than two minutes to tie the game at two.
“Josh [Kiser] had a really big game for us,” said Evans. “He set the tone by scoring twice and getting us back in this one. They were important goals.”
In the second half, a corner kick from Kwakye-Ackah was met by the foot of Ben Jago for Parkland’s third unanswered goal.
Freedom didn’t go down quietly and once again found the scoring touch. This time it was Adam Capuano who clinically passed it into the net on his side foot. Capuano created problems for the Trojan defense all game long.
With 11:30 to go, a Parkland corner kick was headed away right to the waiting Evans, who chest-trapped it to his volley, and secured the victory.