TUCKERS 5, PORTERS 0
In Mattituck these days, the Turkish word for “goal” is “Kaan” — as in Kaan Ilgin.
Ilgin, who is from Turkey, was involved in all but one goal on Tuesday, scoring one and assisting on three others as League VII team Mattituck marked its home opener by running through League VIII side Greenport/Shelter Island, 5-0, in a non-league game.
Ilgin, a sophomore striker in his second year as a starter for the Tuckers, did not speak English before moving to the United States a few years ago. Now he speaks English quite well, and his soccer, well, that speaks for itself.
Asked what type of a player he is, Ilgin replied, “Cristiano Ronaldo,” referring to the Portuguese star who plays for Spanish club Real Madrid.
“I can score goals,” Ilgin said. “That’s my job, to score goals.”
And he’s not bad at setting them up, either.
“Tremendous skill,” Mattituck coach Mat Litchhult said. “He worked really hard today. He set up a lot of plays. He probably could have had three goals and three assists, but we’ll settle for the one goal and three assists.”
Ilgin worked a give-and-go to perfection with David Burkhardt for Mattituck’s first goal in the 18th minute.
The underdog Porters had only two substitutes available and hung in there for a while, but then they became visibly tired during the later stages of the match.
The score remained 1-0 until the 61st minute when Ilgin curled a corner kick that Ryan Finger headed home. It was only 34 seconds later when Ilgin, as if to show that he can finish as well as set up, nabbed his first goal of the season, tapping in a ball that Walter Jacob directed his way.
“It was 65 or 70 minutes of good soccer,” Greenport/Shelter Island coach Chris Golden said. “We just ran out of gas.”
Chris Baglivi made it 4-0 in the 66th minute, heading down a right-wing service from Stephen Urwand before the ball trickled across the goal line.
It was Ilgin’s passing skill that made a difference again when he set up Kevin Williams for the final goal with 75 seconds left in the game. For Ilgin, it was his fourth assist in two games. He had assisted on Burkhardt’s goal in a 2-1 loss to East Hampton on Friday.
Goalkeepers Stephen Ostrowski and Casey Grathwohl made one save apiece to combine for the save. Mattituck (1-1) outshot Greenport/Shelter Island (0-2) by 28-6.
The active Ilgin took a game-high seven shots, putting three of them on target. He was unfortunate not to have scored in the 26th minute when his header off a Burkhardt cross bounced off the top of the crossbar.
Mattituck had other close chances as well. James Hayes pounded a hard shot off goalkeeper Angel Colon (nine saves). A left-footed effort by Burkhardt forced a fine one-handed save by Colon. Mario Arreola slammed a shot off the left goalpost.
“They had a lot of chances,” said Greenport/Shelter Island central defender Erick Ramirez, who was kept busy on the back line along with fellow defenders Nick Droskoski, Jesus Duran and Bryant Rivas.
Young, inexperienced and shorthanded. That was the rough mix the Porters had to deal with. With only two substitutes on the bench, many of the Porters played the entire 80 minutes.
“Today was a good game, but it was a hard game,” said Ramirez.
The Porters were already missing defender/forward Matt Dibble to a concussion. Ryan Weingart, a midfielder/defender, played with a bad quadricep, and Duran’s ankle was hurting him, said Golden.
Golden hopes to have Dibble back by the end of next week, and he expects to add a couple of more players to the team to help out.
The Tuckers looked good. Burkhardt was a big help in center midfield, getting 44 touches on the ball, completing 17 of 29 passes and putting three of his six shots on goal.
“We play some of the nicest soccer at times,” Litchhult said. “I thought our ball movement today at times was excellent.”
A little Turkish flavor didn’t hurt.