When Ayomide Adebayo picked up the ball on the right side of the field, he had one thought: “I haven’t had any shots this game… I’m going to take these guys on, I’m going to shoot.” So the Rochester native pushed the ball onto his favored left foot, shimmied past two defenders who thought he may shoot at any moment, until he found just a foot of space, blasting a low drive into the bottom right corner from his centered position just inside the 18-yard box.
The 77th minute strike would prove to be the game winner in a whirlwind 90-plus minutes that left Med City with a 2-1 win.
And what a fiery match it was. The TwinStars came to possess and exert their physicality, embodied in the constant presence that was Adama Keita. Poking, prodding, remonstrating, and arguing were all in the TwinStars player’s bag of tricks, along with a silky touch and insane amount of confidence that only grew as he seemed to single-handedly deal with every threat of the night with some ease.
Yet it wasn’t enough. Even after going up 1-0 from their first attack of the game, the TwinStars couldn’t capitalize on the thunderous strike that hit the underside of the crossbar before plummeting across the goal line.
Up until that point it had been all Med City FC in possession, putting up chances that keeper Sean Teske was able to thwart time and again.
Most of these chances fell to lone forward Adebayo, a John Marshall graduate from Rochester who just couldn’t get much time on the ball — and had one goal chalked off incorrectly for offside — until his game-winning goal, something head coach Luke Corey predicted at halftime.
“Even though we were down one-nothing at halftime, we knew we were the better team, and we looked at each other and said, ‘this is going to be a grind it out game,’” Corey said. “And we all agreed we were going to win this 2-1. And that’s what we did. It blew my mind that that’s the way it ended up happening.”
If anything, the match showed just how far newcomer Med City has come since its first home match last month. Passing was crisp, one-touch, and usually done without even a subtle glance. City’s players know each other in and out.
Even with the chemistry, the match looked as though it could go either way. City had the possession, but when TwinStars got a sniff at goal, they forced keeper JC Perez Castro into some outrageous saves.
But the prophetic finishing from a lack of chances would be undone by a red card to the visiting side. And, interestingly enough, the referees, having a poor night after not letting an Adebayo strike from the outside of his boot that was simply sublime stand, decided not to award a red card to Med City for a similar incident involving a soft kick to a player in an off-the-ball incident toward the end of the match.
It was a tough pill to swallow for TwinStars head coach Youssef Darbaki.
“It was a little bit physical, obviously,” Darbaki says. “I thought we had control in the first half of the game and did very well. I think they came back in the second half, and then the red card, playing a man down. They took advantage of it.”
Such as it is, this is football, and like life, it isn’t fair. But a red card could have easily been issued to Med City, as easily as the offside call could have never happened. And the referee would not even tell the TwinStars how much stoppage time was left in the match as they pressed for an equalizer.
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