Villatoro Kicks Seahorses Close To First Place
Efrain Villatoro wanted so badly to help Far Rockaway make a comeback. They were on the other end of a 2-0 deficit from the goals of Marco Parra in the first half in a soccer game last Tuesday against Richmond Hill at Flushing Meadows Park.
The talented midfielder has 15 goals this season so he tried to take it upon himself to use his speed and intensity to turn Far Rockaway misfortunes around.
When he dribbled past one defender, Villatoro sped upfield but had the ball quickly taken away by a defender. Villatoro’s frustration was evident on his face. Later in the half, the Seahorses regained their composure as striker Janoi Allen scored to cut the lead to 2-1. The tide turned and in the second half, Villatoro sensed he could make something happen.
On a long pass, Villatoro gained control of the ball, and Goalkeeper Christian Castaneda raced out of his net to meet him just inside the goal area. Villatoro then used his right foot to slide the ball past the keeper before he was upended. The game was tied at 2 and Villatoro got up off the floor and expressed his joy.
Stanley Saintil gave Far Rockaway their third straight goal with two minutes left but Luis Medrano ruined the comeback with a goal with less than a minute to end the game in a 3-3 tie. With a 6-1-3, record with 23 points, Far Rockaway remains two points behind first place Beach Channel.
Head coach William Neylon coached Villatoro in his freshman year before the midfielder moved with his family to Texas. Upon returning in August, Villatoro had grown not only in stature but in playing ability according to Neylon. “He was a defensive player but he came back much stronger, much more confident of his abilities. He’s got a powerful foot and a strong kick,” Neylon said before the game.
At midfield, Villatoro can attract many defenders with his ability to create opportunities and control the ball. His work ethic is very strong, and that fact marveled Neylon during a practice this year.
“The other day, on his own, he ran 4 miles. I didn’t tell him. We usually run 4 laps as a warmup, he just did 20. When we all finished, he just kept going,” Neylon says. “He’s got a strong ego and a strong sense of himself.”
The strong ego at times can override his positives and become a detriment to the team. Villatoro was benched for 2 games due to excessive celebration after goals.
He admits that it hurts the team and is trying to control that part of the game but not decrease his overall excitement for the game.
“I think sometimes I have some issues,” Villatoro laughingly admits. “It’s a part of the game. You get excited in the game and it happens to you.”
The player he emulates most is his idol Jorge Gonzales, the El Salvador national soccer player who was voted the best player in the 20th century in North and Central America by the CONCACAF Soccer Confederation. His dream is to play with Real Madrid and be the next great player like former FIFA player of the year Ronaldo.In the present, he just wants to help his team win a PSAL Queens division title, especially over rival Beach Channel.
“We’re doing good and we make some chances happen in this team.
“I feel comfortable. The season is going well,” says the El Salvador born player. “Every game I try to put effort into. I think I’m nothing but a player who tries his best on the field.”
Dolphins Remain In First
Head Coach Dominic Stanco chose Mamadou Traore to replace striker Marlon Veleasquez, who was suspended two games for cursing at the referee against John Adams. The 6 foot 2 striker scored two goals and Dave Scott added two in a 5-2 win as over Lane last Tuesday. They remain in first place with a 7-1-2 record and two points ahead of Far Rockaway.
“Mamadou stepped up and played hard. After I dug into him in the first half (for not playing well), I told him just to run into the ball and he did so. He came to play,” Stanco said.