By Dylan Butler
Sam Yoon lay motionless on the cold, hard ground at Bayside Athletic Field, his right elbow dislocated after falling awkwardly chasing after a loose ball. For the Bayside boys’ soccer team, it was yet another of a seemingly endless series of obstacles.
The Commodores started its first season in the PSAL ‘A’ division in a long time without its top two players from the undefeated ‘B’ championship team as midfielders Max Tai (moved to Florida) and Alex Beltran (academically ineligible) were gone for the year. Still, Bayside persevered and went on to win the Queens A East crown.
Just before its first playoff game against Beacon, the team learned starting defender Paul Park moved to Alaska. But again the Commodores pushed forward for an impressive 3-0 win.
Fourth-seeded Bayside tried again to rally Monday in its quarterfinal game against Taft. After a 25-minute delay as Yoon was taken into an ambulance to be brought to New York Hospital Medical Center, the Commodores huddled together, emerged reenergized trying to win the game for their fallen teammate.
Despite dominating play for much of the game, including the last 21 minutes without Yoon, Bayside could not overcome a stingy Taft defense as the Commodores fell, 1-0.
“He wanted to be there, he was one of the strongest players on this team,” said Bayside senior captain Jeremy O’ Brien said of Yoon. “He comes out every day and works hard, never complains. We dedicated the rest of the game to him.”
For a time it appeared Bayside (10-2-1) would get that tying goal as almost all of the final 21 minutes of the game was played in the Taft defensive third. John Gallego’s header from five yards out off of Andrew Colucci’s long throw-in missed the near post in the 67th minute.
Two minutes later Gallego’s tricky, low shot from 16 yards out was pushed aside by Taft keeper Dennis Amoateng for a corner kick. Gerald Prophete followed with a header off the football crossbar.
“I thought that in a game like this when opportunities are not as great, you have to capitalize on the ones you get,” said Bayside head coach Joe Corrado. “Today, we didn’t do that.”
Taft, however, did. With a brutal, driving wind that at times turned Bayside Athletic Field into a dust bowl, the Commodores won the pre-game coin toss and elected to go into the win in the first half. Both teams struggled with the wind, but it was the Blue Devils who made the most of its one chance in the opening 40 minutes.
Taft senior Frank Sefah, who was the team’s top scorer last year when the Blue Devils lost to Martin Luther King in the PSAL title game but was moved back to sweeper by Taft head coach Ron Jabusch to shore up the defense, set up for a direct kick 17 yards out, one yard outside of the far side of the box.
Sefah began to wave his arm at his teammates, making it appear like he was going to cross the ball deep in the box. Sefah said he wanted to draw Bayside keeper Tallin Lamonaca away from the far post and the trickery apparently worked as Sefah whipped the ball inside the far post to put fifth-seeded Taft (12-0-2) ahead, 1-0 in the 38th minute.
“I wanted to make the goalie move to the other side and he started to move across,” Sefah said. “It was a great shot, I just curved it.”
While Bayside was trying to win the game for Yoon, Taft had other motivation. The Blue Devils were a bit surprised when the seedlings for the quarterfinals were announced Friday night, thinking that an undefeated record and an appearance in last year’s championship game would have been enough for a higher seed.
“We thought we should have at least been ahead of Bayside because we think the Bronx is as good as Queens or Brooklyn,” said Jabusch, whose team advances to its fifth straight semifinal match and will take on MLK in a game scheduled for Wednesday at John Adams. “Defense has been the key. The midfield and the forwards are not great. It’s basically been the back line and the goalie. Nobody is going to score a lot of goals against us. And we do have luck.”
Bayside clearly was missing luck this year, although O’ Brien said, they did earn some respect in their first season in the ‘A’ division after many years in the ‘B’ division.
“Most people thought we wouldn’t be able to handle ‘A’ teams,” he said. “We made a name for ourselves. Now people know Bayside is one of the best teams.”
Martin Luther King 2, Newcomers 0. For a second straight year, Newcomers garnered the No. 8 seed and for a second straight year the Lions quarterfinal opponent was mighty MLK. The final result, too, was the same but Newcomers did play much closer than last year’s 5-1 loss, dropping a 2-0 decision at Central Park Monday. Ibrahim Fadiga scored both goals to lead the top-seeded MLK (15-0). Elvir Prasovic made seven saves to lead Newcomers (9-3-1).
Monroe 2, Newtown 1. The Pioneers were all but penciled in as the No. 2 seed in the PSAL quarterfinals after what was expected to be a second-round win over a young Monroe team. Monroe, though, had other plans as the Eagles erased a 1-0 deficit to pull off the monumental upset in penalty kicks Friday. Oswald Brown broke a scoreless draw to give the Pioneers a 1-0 lead two minutes into the first of two 10-minute overtime periods. But Monroe (11-2-2) rallied to tie the game on Sanel Klincevic’s rebound one minute later and went on to win the game in penalty kicks, 4-3.
Martin Luther King 4, Flushing 1. Han Soo Jun scored on a through ball from Juan Arboleda midway through the second half to tie the game at 1 for Flushing (9-3-3), but it wasn't enough to dethrone the defending champs.
Madison 4, Cardozo 3. Bartlom Stolarczyk and Maurice Brown each scored two goals in Madison’s second-round win over Cardozo (9-4) in penalty kicks. The Knights (11-1-1) edged the Judges, 5-4 in the shootout.
Springfield Gardens 4, Buswick 1. Kirkland McLaughlin scored all four goals to lead Springfield Gardens (11-2) into the PSAL ‘B’ quarterfinals. The fourth-seeded Golden Eagles host No. 5 Bronx Science (8-2-1) in a game scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.
In other ‘B’ division games, A.P. Randolph defeated Thomas Edison, 2-1, Erasmus topped Campus Magnet, 3-0 and Lehman edged out Robert F. Wagner, 3-2.
Reach Associate Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 143.