Several minutes after a header by Flagler Palm Coast’s Riley Clymer found the back of the net, the Bulldogs’ Landon Stone was alone in the box with Matanzas goal keeper Stephen Usina. Stone’s penalty kick snuck past Usina as he dove for the ball, and the Bulldogs’ second goal of the night brought them back from the brink of defeat.
The Pirates, who led 2-0 in the first half and tacked on a third goal early in the second period, held on to defeat their crosstown rival 3-2 the night of Friday, Dec. 6, at FPC High School.
Last season, the Pirates lost to the Bulldogs for the first time since the 2012-13 season.
"Definitely not the result we wanted, but I’m extremely proud of our boys for how we finished the game."
TROY STONE, Bulldogs coach
“That game left a salty taste in our mouths,” Pirates head coach Rich Weber said. “We were really young last year and immature. I don’t like to ever lose, but it was probably good for us for this year. We’ve got a really tough schedule and we’ve been trying to grow up and come together. It’s been tough, but I’m excited about it.”
Matanzas was led by Joel Meza, who scored twice on the night — once in the first half and again in the second half. The Pirates' Tristan Alvarez scored the first goal of the match.
Before taking walking onto the pitch at Sal Campanella Memorial Stadium, a chill went over Matanzas' Stephen Usina. This field was a familiar place. It was were he began his high school career as a goal keeper for the Bulldogs.
Usina, a two-year starter, transferred to Matanzas before the start of his junior year.
Usina recently came back to soccer three weeks ago. He had been sidelined after suffering a fracture of the second cervical vertebra in a game against Father Lopez on Jan. 21, 2019. He also had a bulging disc and a spinal concussion.
He had his return to FPC circled on his calendar.
“It was amazing," he said. "From the start, I always wanted to play against this team here. It was exciting to come back here. It was special.”