HAMPDEN, Maine— The Maine Sting wanted to end their National Premier Soccer League season with a win and finish unbeaten at home.
They didn’t get the victory but they did remain undefeated at home by virtue of a 0-0 tie with Long Island Academy Friday night.
The Sting, 0-5-4 last year, wound up 3-2-3 in their second season, including a 2-0-2 home mark.
They had four quality scoring chances in the second half but couldn’t convert.
LIA is 3-1-2 with both ties against the Sting. Its loss was a forfeit.
LIA, which brought just 11 players, used its technical skill and quickness to move the ball around effectively. They always had numbers on the defensive side of the ball to frustrate the Sting.
They also generated a few good opportunities with their best two chances coming in one flurry with four minutes remaining in regulation.
LIA’s Christian Uy ran on to a long ball from the back and was able to flick the ball toward the goal only to have onrushing goalkeeper Colin O’Donnell absorb it in his chest as the two collided. O’Donnell then squared himself to make a tremendous left-foot save on Ever Alverado’s followup shot.
“I should have tried to tuck it underneath him. I should have put it on the ground and we would have won 1-0,” said Uy. “But, at the end of the day, it wasn’t meant to be. It was a fair result. We’ll take it.”
“I had to try to protect myself while gathering the ball,” said O’Donnell, the starting goalkeeper at the University of New Hampshire. “After we collided and the ball popped out, I had to reset, look where the ball was and readjust for the second shot. Luckily, I got my left foot on it.”
O’Donnell finished with three saves on 10 shots.
“He’s a great keeper,” said Sting striker Dylan George, O’Donnell’s UNH teammate.
LIA’s Hernando Santamaria was also exceptional and was the busier of the two goalkeepers, especially in the second half. He made four saves on nine shots.
After a dull first half devoid of scoring chances for either team, the Sting’s Teja Barkman broke through the LIA defense 8:30 into the second half only to flick the ball wide of the post to the oncoming Santamaria’s left. Greg Cox fed the ball to George, who pushed it over to Barkman.
“It was a great ball. I chipped it but I was unlucky,” said Barkman.
Just a few minutes later, George fought his way through the defense but his low shot also went wide.
“I tried to get to it as quickly as I could so I’d have time to get a good shot on net but I miskicked it wide,” said George, who also plays at UNH.
With 10 minutes left, Santamaria, laying on his side, reached across to snare Barkman’s redirection off a Sourosh Amani pass.
With six minutes left, Colin Reilly had an open header off an Amani corner but headed it over the bar.
“We definitely had our chances. A couple bad bounces here, a couple bad bounces there. It just didn’t go our way,” said Sting midfielder Chris Thomas.