Manley's Blog

In Defense of Vito, Other Thursday Stuff

Posted in Uncategorized by mattmanley on October 2, 2009

For those of you who might have read the story on Freehold Township’s win over Marlboro yet, I wanted to offer my take on the intentional handball by Vito Amato in overtime.

Amato’s handball had obvious negative ramifications. It gave Connor Egan a penalty kick and forced Marlboro to play without its best player for the final 12 minutes or so until Anthony Fiorletti ended the game with one big swing of his left foot. Now normally, when you hear about a play like this, the first thing you think is, “well that kid is the goat.” I’m just taking a few minutes to completely and utterly reject the notion that Vito Amato might have cost Marlboro the game, if anyone is mistaken enough to jump to that conclusion. Some red cards cost teams the game. This one didn’t.

Had Amato not reacted by throwing his hands up, goalie Greg Belanger probably doesn’t recover in time to save the shot and the game is over anyway. Watching it live, I thought for sure that Amato prevented a sure goal, but in watching the video in slow motion, it looked like Belanger might have had a fighting chance at getting a hand on the shot had Amato let it go. It was a terrific recovery by Belanger, who I must admit to underrating coming into the season. He has been outstanding this year. Still, Amato knew his goalie was down and gave said goalie a chance on a pk rather than keep his hands down and hope something else gets in the way. It’s like fouling at the end of a basketball game: the percentages still aren’t in your favor, but it’s better than the alternative.

The good thing about the situation is that the card is not a straight red. It’s a yellow-red that eliminates Amato from the game and forces the team to play a man down, but does not require a two-game suspension that a normal red would. I’m sure there are those who would argue a player should get the straight red to discourage that kind of play and that an intentional handball is just as dirty as anything else. I understand wanting to discourage it, but you can’t sit a kid for 10-15 percent of his team’s schedule for something like that. Ejection and handicapping the team is punishment enough.

When Amato put his hand on the ball, the first thing I worried about for Marlboro’s sake was not losing the game – they should have lost the game because Freehold dominated them for the last 50 minutes. I wasn’t sure of the rule, and the first thing I thought was “Oh no, is he out for two games?” Luckily for the Stangs, they paid the fine and Amato will be back on the field Saturday against Colts Neck. With all due respect to Dan Weisberger and Ameer Abedrabbo, Amato has been Marlboro’s best player this year and might be the best player in A North through a month of play.

Quick Thursday Thoughts

– CBA and TRS both score an early touchdown and run out the clock to beat their respective opponents, 7-0. That looks like taking out frustration more than anything.

– Manalapan and Toms River East both show a little fight to keep the annual goal of a postseason appearance alive on the operating table. That’s a huge win for East, in particular, because it shows how far they’ve come, from losing 4-0 to Lacey to beating them on the TR East turf.

– After watching Lacey give TR North trouble a few Saturday’s ago, then considered how the Mariners dismantled TR South and Brick on the turf surface, I started the wonder if this North team was a slightly better version of the TR South teams that would run all over teams on turf and look like they’ve playing in quicksand on grass. Sure enough, Brick has North on the ropes today on the natural surface. At the end of the day, though, TRN is still undefeated and may not have to play a meaningful game on grass for the rest of the year, assuming they continue to play like a juggernaut on turf.

– Two high-profile freshman scored their first varsity goal on Thursday. Alex Ramos scored Colts Neck’s second goal of the game and Ethan Decker got Southern rolling with the opening goal in a 4-1 win over Jackson, the first of two goals for the rook. Those two will score a lot of goals at the high school level.

– Manchester continues to plummet in B South, losing to a Lakewood team that could be very dangerous the second time through the schedule. The very dangerous Argenis Morales scored the lone goal and he may carry Lakewood to some October wins.

– Point Boro and Monsignor Donovan have basically put an end to all other would-be contenders in B South. Boro in particular has been dominant, outside of a tight, 1-0 loss to Mon Don. The stat sheet says Bryan Brodeur has done the scoring and Ed Moran is shutting the opponent out, but Nick O’Hara and and Nick Tarantin in the back have been shut-down defenders. Moran is as good as it gets in B South, but he’s had plenty of help in allowing just two goals in eight games.

– The last thing Todd Briggs had to say after the win over Marlboro: “It’s going to be a fun October.” I agree. Just as long as its not fun for the Yankees or the Angels.


2 Responses

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  1. shoresoccer said, on October 3, 2009 at 12:22 am

    Add Egan (even with the missed pk-great save by goalie) and Fioletti to the top players in A North for the season.

  2. CHRIS SOSA said, on October 3, 2009 at 2:40 am

    Put some things of east up. they just upset lacey.

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