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South Jersey Soccer:
Pioneers End Barons Season with Golden Goal

Saturday, August 19, 2000

By Forrest Robleto
SJSports Staff Writer

The Western Mass. Pioneers who ended the Barons season in the Nationals in Ludlow last year, ended the Barons season in the playoff opener this year with a little help from the officials. The game ended fourteen minutes into the first overtime. With this year's format change, the game ended with the Golden Goal (the first goal scored) instead of sudden death (political correctness runs amok).

The Barons fell behind 1-0 on a direct kick while the official was moving the defense. The opposing team can kick the ball early but they shouldn't be allowed to start the play while the official is in control of the defense. In any case, Pioneer forward Rob Jachym was credited with the goal. Seventeen minutes later he scored again after defender Paul Zgalich, who played a fine game, lost his footing and Jachym was alone with the Barons Keeper Pete Pappas and gave the Pioneers the lead by two. Brooks Lennox and Majik played a terrific first half up front and Holmes, Southern, and Zgalich were all strong in defense.

Kevin Kelly and Omid Namazi combined for a lot of offense in the second half with Kelly scoring twice. The meeting between these two teams was particularly physical and Magik Agu left the game early in the second half with an ankle injury. Omid Namazi made a terrific feed to Kevin Kelly at about the nine-minute mark to open the scoring for the Barons. A few minutes later Michael Knowles was ejected for an excessively hard tackle on a player who couldn't get up. That is until the ejection, and that's when he bounded back into the play. But the Barons would play the rest of the game a man down. The Barons put together a very strong offense playing with a man short. Zgalich inbound the ball to Michael Payne who then headed the ball to Kelly which he headed the ball into the net on a nifty double header. That would be the last goal of the Barons' season.

For the second time in three weeks, Pioneer coach Leszek Wrona found himself in the bad graces of the officials at Carey Stadium and was ejected from the game. The Sudden Death or Golden Goal came fourteen minutes into the overtime. Ricardo Monje had the good fortune to have two Barons defenders slip and fall that gave him a clean shot from about 15 yards out. He lined it past a diving Pete Pappas to end the Barons season.

The Barons beat the Pioneers twice this season, but the combination of the official interfering with the defense and the defense falling down gave the Pioneers the win. At the end of the game, the Pioneer players got into a shouting match with some of the fans. The Fan friendly Barons would receive a warm hearted applause from their loyal fans. The Barons should have been the better team on the field. They were clearly the better team off the field.

Photos by Forrest Robleto

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