Gloversville tops FFCS in season opener

Gloversville's Raymond Strauser is challenged by Fonda-Fultonville's Myles Anderson and goalkeeper Mitch Araya as he heads the ball on goal for a score during the first half of Friday's non-league season-opener at Husky Field in Gloversville. (The Leader-Herald/James A. Ellis)

GLOVERSVILLE — The Gloversville boys soccer team got its 2017 season off to a good start.

Playing at Husky Field while their new FieldTurf facility is under construction, the Dragons got a pair of goals from Raymond Strauser to help turn back Fonda-Fultonville 3-1 in non-league action Friday night.

“This is a big field and I love it,” Gloversville coach Jason Hillabrandt said. “We spread everyone out and once we get used to the surface and playing the ball a little quicker we will be doing well.”

Fonda-Fultonville came out strong in the season-opener and hit the first shot of the game on net when Oscar Ramerez fired a long attempt that Gloversville goalkeeper Jacob Katanecksza collected up for the save.

The Dragons began building a passing rhythm, stringing passes together and pushing through balls in deep but could not put the finshing touch on the play.

Gloversville broke through in the 19th minute when Marwan Abbas chipped the ball forward and Strauser won the 50-50 ball, heading it over goalkeeper Mitch Araya as he charged the play and into the open net for a 1-0 advantage.

Araya prevented the Dragons from going up 2-0 when he smothered a shot by Strauser less than two minutes later.

Gloversville kept the pressure on the Braves’ defense by creating opportunities that resulted in corner kicks they were not able to capitalize on.

The Dragons broke through for their second goal of the match when Strauser again headed a shot on goal, this time with Jeremy Lombardoni getting the assist.

The Dragons missed on a pair of solid opportunities early in the second half, while the Braves built momentum.

With just over 15 minutes left to play, Evan Wieczenski put a corner kick in play for the Braves that bounced around in front of the goal before the Gloversville defense was able to clear it wide.

The Braves kept the ball in the Dragons’ defensive zone and got on the board when Ramerez finished off a pass from Miles Anderson to close the gap to 2-1 with 15:04 left to play.

Gloversville regrouped and built its lead back to two goals when Damian Bruce found Abbas with a centering pass that he drove into the back of the net from 20 yards out to put the final score at 3-1.

“In the first half we moved the ball well with one and two-touch passing,” Fonda-Fultonville coach Matt Bloom said. “We started to get tired a bit in the second half and had a lull. Then we scored that goal and it gave the kids some energy. We have five guys missing right now and once we get everyone together things are going to improve but tonight we looked much better than what we did in our scrimmage so that is promising.”

For the match Gloversville out shot Fonda-Fultonville 10-4 and the Dragons held an 8-3 edge in corner kicks.

“Their defense gave us bad angles,” Hillabrandt said. “We had our through ball at a good angle but I think we let it run out too much and it gave us a bad angle on the goal. When we get into our league play we definitely need to finish better than we did tonight. The frustrating thing with that is that yesterday in our three-way scrimmage we finished exceptionally well. But today we look at three goals but I feel it could have been better than that. But it is better we do that now rather than in October.”

Gloversville (1-0) will return to the pitch at Husky Field Tuesday when the Dragons open the Foothills Council campaign against North Division contender Queensbury.