Glen Cove boys’ soccer boasts a talented roster in 2019. Through five games, including three conference battles, it hasn’t lost. The issue is, the Big Red hasn’t won, either.
“We have five draws through five games,” coach Brian Smith said. “Obviously, that doesn’t sit well with any of us.”
But, there is a silver lining in the games played for the Big Red thus far this year. In every single contest where a goal was scored by either side, Glen Cove led at one point of the match. While that points to some correction needed late in games, the more telling conclusion is the team has the ability to score, defend, and compete with anyone in its conference.
Glen Cove’s most recent draw came Monday at Hewlett in a 2-2 game where Luciano Tuo and Josue Fuentes netted goals for the Big Red. Smith saw improvement, but noted where further development has to be made.
“We were getting better possessions, seemed to be able to utilize our strengths and were touching the ball very well,” Smith said. “But the other team played well, and although we are improving there are still some things we need to tighten up.”
Even with teams that have winning records within the conference, Smith feels like his squad has the capabilities to play with any of them, and it has. In a 0-0 tie on Sept. 13, Glen Cove tied Bellmore JFK, a team with no losses and a win on the season. Glen Cove kept it to without a goal, but couldn’t capitalize on its own opportunities.
“We’re improving overall,” Smith said. “We’re fit. Although we’re shorter than both teams, we’re not getting beat in the aerial game. We’re doing a good job resetting, passing with purpose, we hold on to the ball well and employ a good touch, but we need to utilize our touches better and avoid fouls.”
Glen Cove has to finish .500 or better for a shot at the playoffs, and the talented core of this team has the ability to get it there.
Nikolas Vidal is a clinical finisher that ranked in the top goal scorers in the county two years ago. He has four goals through five games. “He is a sublime talent, a genius on the field,” Smith said. “That’s why he gets man-marked by at least two, sometimes three defenders game to game.”
Center back Yunior Velazquez was also lauded by his coach. “He is smart, poised, has a great touch, and knows when to attack,” Smith said. “He’s been playing great.”
Defensive midfielder Michael Battle is a great, athletic addition to the Big Red’s middle third, while Elvin Rosado provides a lightning quick pace.
Moving forward, Smith understands the touch competition that lies ahead. “We play in a very competitive conference where teams are filled with athletes that are going to compete with us,” Smith said. “It is up to us to progress to be the team I know we are capable of being.”