Brooklyn Italians 4 Rhode Island Reds 3 5/5/13

Brooklyn Italians 4 Rhode Island Reds 3   5/5/13

Bald, Burned and working a double.  A day in the life of a DITP Ref.
Huge Crowd of 93 to witness
Top notch Vermicelli bowl
Eating my way around Vietnamese America
Last minute scramble almost resulted in an equalizer
One of many Brooklyn goal celebrations
Game 46 (Game 14 Season 2)
Brooklyn Italians                    4
Rhode Island Reds                 3
NPSL (4th Division)
5/5/13 2:00 PM
Cranston Stadium, Cranston, RI
Attendance: 93
From Fall River I took the short trip back over to Cranston to check out the afternoons NPSL home opener between Rhode Island Reds and Brooklyn Italians.  We have seen both of these teams in US Open Cup action previously.  Last year Brooklyn knocked Portland Phoenix out of the first round of the US Open Cup, and this year Mass Premier Soccer beat the Reds in the Region I quarterfinals en route to their cup qualification.  This was to be the official NPSL home opener for Rhode Island, and although in my heart I knew better, I was hoping for a crowd of at least 200 or so.  It was shaping up to be a beautiful afternoon, and I tried to enjoy some of it in Cranston, killing the 2 hours I had between games with a trip to the liquor store for gametime brown bag refreshment, and a big bowl of Bun Vermicelli at the Minh Hai restaurant directly across the street from the stadium.  I’m not going to bore you with the details here, if you want to know more about Vietnamese food check out my Yelp list.  I emerged from the establishment fully renewed and ready for the action.  Familiar with the setup from my previous trip, I made it a pint to pay the $5 for admission, to the guy in the little hut, even though everyone knows you can breeze right by him without being noticed.  Public Service Announcement to all you gate skippers.  If you want to continue to see local semi-pro soccer in your community, please take the time to stop and pay the low cost of admission!  You are not getting one over on the man, and its nothing to be proud of.  If you want to scam some free tickets, by all means, I ENCOURAGE you to come up on free Revs tickets by any means necessary.  Krafty Bob does not need your $25 for a single game Fort ticket, (Should be $10) But I do not think its too much to ask for you to pay $5 to $10 for NPSL / PDL matches and you should do so happily in the name of supporting local soccer.  Let me get off my soapbox, sorry folks.
I took a seat in the wide open main grandstand, and after hearing a college age kid express with pride his elusion of payment that sparked the previous diatribe, I diverted my gaze from the stands to the field where I saw my brethren in baldness, the LUSA game ref cavorting with the other officials.  The top of his head has burnt to a beet red sheen from the AM activities.  Guy, your like 50.  I’m sure you’ve been bald for a while.  You should know better, put a little sunscreen on.  He served as the 4th official for this game which although it started slow proved to be a real cracker!
The Reds took a first half lead on a free kick, but the game really started to get away form them in the second half.  Brooklyn was far more athletic and as a result of their stretching the field and just testing Rhode Island’s fitness repeatedly, they earned 2 penalties, one of which was EXTREMELY dubious and got the lead out to a presumably safe 4-1 margin with less than 15 minutes to go.  But what do you know, Rhode Island showed a ton of heart and got two goals back and a solid 5 minutes of stoppage time to try and get the equalizer.  I had ventured over to the far side of the field to take some shots of just how sparse a crowd there was and to count the individuals, as is my want, when I found myself pressed into action as a de-facto ball boy.  With time running down, and Rhode Island pressing for the equalizer, I had to scramble up into the stands to get a ball back the field for a deep-in-stoppage-time-corner.  The corner was a sweet delivery and rattled around in the box before being cleared as Brooklyn was saved by the final whistle.  It was a great game, and I may be back for more this year.  The next Rhode Island game is against the New York Red Bulls U23’s Memorial Day weekend.

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