The West Orange Vipers, U16 Boys, will put their unbeaten run of seven wins no loss and two draws on the line against the Milburn S.C Avalanche in the final game of the regular season this Sunday, May 22 at 1pm, at the West Orange High School’s Lincoln Field.
The Vipers, who have so far scored 28 goals while only conceding eight, are expected to make light work of the Avalanche who come into the game with a record of 3-5-0, and claim their place in the U16 playoffs as flight three winners in the Mid NJ Youth Soccer Association travel league.
The Vipers have undergone a transition under new coach Nansha Kalonji, in his first season as head coach. The Vipers were expected to struggle to match their previous achievements this season, having lost three stand out players from last spring in forward Jonathan Padilla; who decided to give up travel soccer and stick with the Player Development Academy (PDA), midfielder Gonzalo Sposato; whose family moved back to Uruguay, and defender Tyler Forte-Foskey who was their only naturally left sided player. However, Nansha has reshaped the team into a better unit. They now play a more compact and organize style, with a flat back four, two central midfielders, two wide midfielders, a main striker and a second striker who helps a lot with the midfield work.
Manager Carlo Porcaro has also made some valuable additions to the squad. He added Chase Bridgers a central defender and Satchel Sankar who plays comfortably anywhere across the back four or in the midfield; both of whom have previously enjoyed an unbeaten regular season with the West Orange Wolverines 8-0-2. The midfield was also bolstered by the return of Derrick Marshall, after a brief hiatus, and the inclusion of Danny Maya.
While the team on a whole has been functioning much better as a unit, the current success can, in no small part, be credited to the prolific goal scoring of leading scorer Michael Vargas (15 goals) and his strike partner Dominic Byfield (7). The defense cannot be overlooked, having given up only 8 goals in nine games. In most of the games regular goalkeeper Alex Goldman has hardly have to make a save because of the great work of the guys in front of him. Another notable point of the team’s success thus far is that star midfield man, Bryan Brufau, has been transformed by Nansha into more of a passer than the dribbler that he was.
Nansha has definitely made his mark on the team, all the guys seem much more comfortable with the ball, and they are all aware of their duties when the team has lost possession. This team is poised for great things.
Sunday’s starting lineup will likely be : Alex Goldman in goal, Chase Bridgers and Marcus Salazar in central defense, Sam Seidenfeld and Sebastian Turano occupying the wing back positions, a central midfield duo of Brian Brufau and Satchel Sankar, Danny Maya and Michael Zarro on the flanks, and Michael Vargas and Dominic Byfield will likely continue up front. Michael Porcaro and Derrick Marshall who are both carrying injuries should be fit for the bench alongside Augustin Silva.