It seemed to happen in an instant.
Hicksville forward Michael Osmundsen was touching the ball past Kellenburg goalkeeper Jack Abuin to slot the ball into an empty net to score the lone goal in the non-league 1-0 victory over the Firebirds.
It’s nothing short of what Comets boys soccer head coach Scott Starkey would expect. He described his forward as “very explosive, fast and he’s not just fast — he’s tenacious.”
Osmundsen also used a commanding vocal presence as he called numerous times for left back Joe Palermo to play the ball over the top, which eventually led to the goal.
“I was calling for it a bunch of times. He finally realized and put a perfect ball in and as soon as the ball went up I knew I had it,” Osmundsen said. “The defender went up and I knew he wasn’t going to get it so I just went right around him. I got lucky to get a good touch right around the goalie as he was coming out and I just put it in the back of the net.”
However, Osmundsen’s joy of scoring the goal turned to frustration as he was removed from the game not to return after picking up a yellow card. With it being a non-league game Starkey didn’t want to risk a second card.
“It’s definitely frustrating when you go from scoring that and then getting an unfortunate yellow card and not being able to go back in,” Osmundsen said. “But when I went out I had confidence in my whole team, that we could take care of this game.”
With it being a non-league affair Starkey was able to see different guys in different positions. With the goal-scorer remaining on the sidelines, central figure in the midfield Matt Sloan moved up top to help keep possession in the attacking half, noted Starkey.
It nearly led to a goal as well. After good play from Storm Strongin to beat a defender near the touch-line, he played a low cross into Sloan. However, the shot sailed high from the edge of the six-yard box in the 54th minute.
Sloan was involved in another attacking move that nearly gave the Comets the second goal that would have eased their victory over Kellenburg. His cross in the 69th minute found defensive stalwart Ryan DiLorenzo, who found himself further forward. The defender made strong contact on the header, but it was right at Abuin.
The Firebirds didn’t have many scoring opportunities throughout the game, but troubled the Comets defense as the game was coming to a close. It took a superb diving save from goalkeeper Jordan Robertaccio to keep out a Caleb Uruttia header in the 73rd minute.
With a minute remaining to play, Trevor Sheridan’s throw-in into the box fell to the feet of Austin Wesch, but his shot went wide of the target.
With such a strong start by Hicksville, it gives the team something to build on as the season progresses.
“I love the way we’re starting,” Osmundsen said. “I love each and every player on this team. We have great chemistry. We hang out all the time and we all are excellent soccer players. I think as our chemistry builds we can go places this year.”
Yet, there are still areas for the Comets to improve.
“50-50 balls in the air is something we have to work on mostly. Other than that everything has been looking good. Just keep possessing the ball and keep talking out there and we should be fine,” Osmundsen said.