UPPER DUBLIN >> Abington’s Arsene Bado has two goals this fall. The first was a game-winner against Upper Dublin in the season opener and the second was the lone score in a 1-0 win in the rematch against the Cardinals Thursday afternoon at Upper Dublin High School.
Thursday’s score came late in the first half. Gavin O’Neill sent a corner kick into the box and Upper Dublin sent it away, back towards O’Neill. O’Neill put the ball right back in front of the net, this time finding Bado’s head. Bado redirected the ball past the keeper and into the net for a 30th minute goal.
“That was a great cross,” Bado said. “I just read the ball and hit it in the net. That was a great cross – I just tried to do my job. As a striker that’s what I always try to do – I try to read balls and put them in the back of the net.”
The senior striker used his size and speed to generate opportunities throughout the game. His size gave him an advantage for the game-winning header and his speed forced Upper Dublin to show him extra attention.
“The way they played me was pretty smart,” Bado said. “They knew I was fast so they had another man back there. It didn’t really matter because we just tried to drag him out and set me one-v-one against the defender.”
“He’s got a lot of speed,” Upper Dublin head coach Andy Meehan said. “They’ve got a lot of good players over there. (Coaches) Randy (Garber) and Matt (Siroli) do a good job of organizing them and getting the best out of them. (Bado’s) dangerous getting into those areas because of his speed and they utilize him very well.”
Bado’s goal sent the Ghosts (5-1) to halftime with a 1-0 lead.
After being outplayed in the first 40 minutes, the Cardinals (2-3-1) talked during the break about needing to match Abington’s intensity in the second half and it showed on the field.
Upper Dublin’s first chance to tie the game came in the 57th minute, when Josiah Kutai put a ball off the crossbar. Ten minutes later, Nick Fiore tried to bend in a left-footed shot that just missed the top left corner. In the 73rd minute, Chris McNeal hit a hard shot just below the crossbar, but Abington keeper Jalen Harris knocked it above the net.
“They did everything I could ask for as a coach,” Meehan said of his player accepting his second-half challenge. “Sometimes in a game you need luck to be on your side and it just wasn’t on our side today.
“They matched (Abington’s) energy, they were running up and down the field. For a while in the second half we were outplaying them. Right now, (Abington) is the best team in our division based on record, but we had a couple things just not go our way.”
The Cardinals did find the back of the net in the 70th minute, but the goal was waived off when the officials ruled an Upper Dublin player interfered with the keeper. Fiore sent a free kick into the box from 40 yards away and Sean Seabrook headed it into the top left corner. After the Cardinals ran to midfield celebrating, the officials gathered and waived off the score.
“At this point, what are you going to do,” Meehan said. “The call was made and unfortunately it didn’t go our way. They deserved more in my opinion.”
Abington sits atop the Suburban One League Liberty Division with a 5-1 record and four games to play.
“We just have to keep it up, keep grinding,” Bado said. “We have a lot of talent. We’re good to go.”