SCOTCH PLAINS/FANWOOD — The Linden Tigers boys’ soccer team improved by seven goals from a year ago, and surprised Scotch Plains-Fanwood by defeating the Raiders, 1-0, at Wexler Field Tuesday afternoon.
While Scotch Plains-Fanwood beat Linden, 7-0. in 2016, the tables turned this fall as Linden came storming into Scotch Plains a much-changed team, and it showed in the 38th minute.
Linden senior Alex Tarnawski got his foot on a ball sent from the head of teammate Brian Carvalhoso. Tarnawski dribbled outside the righthand side of the 18-yard box, and fired a brilliant strike that eluded Scotch Plains goalie Aaron Schack, curving around the goalie and cushioning the left side of the goal. The goal sent Wexler Field into a state of shock and provided Linden with the lone goal that proved to be the game-winner.
“The chance just came to me, and I took it. I just let it go, let it rip, and it went in,” said Tarnawski, whose goal was the seventh of his varsity career. “We gave our hearts out. We just came out together as a team and put it all together.”
Linden was able to take advantage of Scotch Plains’ recent struggles, becoming the third team to enter Wexler Field and shutout the Raiders this season.
“They played like a team; they played as a single unit and didn’t break at the back,” Linden head coach Michael A. Mastriano said. “I couldn’t have asked anymore for my boys. They stepped up when they needed to step up. They didn’t quit.”
Scotch Plains-Fanwood had its chances. The Raiders were simply unlucky after applying much more pressure in the second half. The team was stopped by Linden goalie Patrick Moskal on three prime scoring chances in the final 40 minutes.
In the game’s 77th minute, Ryan Widman of Scotch Plains was called offsides. Had the call not been made, the game very likely could have gone to overtime, as Widman had Moskal beat to the goal.
The Raiders will look to get their season back on track Thursday, playing division foe Elizabeth a visit under the lights. The game will be played at Elizabeth’s Williams Field and kicks off at 6:30 p.m.