The boys soccer team overcame a 2-0 halftime deficit with a three-goal second half, including the game-winner off the foot of Pradeep Thakuri on a penalty kick, to upend Ridgefield Park 4-3 Wednesday in the first round of the North Jersey Section 2, Group 2 tournament.
"I think we just kept pushing it," said Freddie Wynne, whose corner kick set up the game-tying goal in the second half. "We would go down a goal and then we would get one back. And then were just able to get that last goal and the win. We played well and kept working hard. We never put our heads down and that's what really counted."1st 2nd FINAL Ridgefield Park (9-8-2) 2 1 3 Madison (11-6) 1 3 4
Ridgefield Park, the No. 12-seed, grabbed the early lead on two goals by Michael Wood before fifth-seeded Madison got on the board when captain Peter Willis scored from 35 yards out on a pass from Thakuri.
"After Pete's goal, the team realized 'we can win this game'," Madison coach Frank Nunez said.
Just 2 1/2 minutes into the second half, Vincent Bennett knotted the score at 2. At the eight-minute mark of the second half, Wood scored his third goal of the game, putting Ridgefield Park up again at 3-2.
"We never really had one swing of momentum," Willis said. "I felt like every time we were back there and thought we were going to dominate, they would come back and score a goal. But we never gave up. And every time they scored a goal, we kept our heads up and kept playing. And it came out in the end."
Madison was very active on the attack and Wynne lofted a perfect corner kick for a header by Mike Clemente that tied the score at 3-3. With 16 minutes remaining, a Ridgefield Park hand ball in the box gave Madison a penalty kick. Thakuri took the shot to the right and scored the winning goal.
"I decided to go right all the way (on the penalty kick)," Thakuri said. "It was touch. We just had to play our game. Everyone did did really good today."
DODGER OF THE GAME
Peter Willis—Senior captain put Madison on the scoreboard inspiring his team to victory.
Freddie Wynne (Madison)—Wynne's corner kick was on the mark for the game-tying goal; Pradeep Thakuri (Madison) assisted on the Willis goal and beat the goalie on the penalty kick for the winning goal; Michael Wood (Ridgefield Park) had a hat trick (3 goals) in the loss.
THEY SAID IT
"A heart attack. We were using a new formation and we let guys run through our midfield, we didn't play men, and goals got produced because we didn't mark anyone up. They were a very good team, they were competitive, and they didn't die. When the ball was in the box, they didn't give up. At the half, we made a couple adjustments to add a little more attack. We saw something in the first half that we could capitalize on and we did it. I tip my hat to the guys. They didn't want to lose, they didn't want to give up. They had to score 3 in the half to beat them."—Madison head coach Frank Nunez
"Our game plan that we had really paid off early on. But their size and their speed really wore us down. They have a bunch of seniors that have been playing together for a long time and physically they are hard to keep up with. They started beating us on the outside and that was where we had our breakdowns."—Ridgefield Park head coach Ryan Fells
Up Next—Madison will travel to Fort Lee Friday, 3 p.m.