In basketball, it’s called a shooter’s bounce — a shot that isn’t precisely on target but finds its way into the net by a fortuitous carom off glass or tin. Sometimes, that’s the case in soccer, too.
Brentwood’s leading scorer, forward Johnathan Mendoza-Yanes, got a kindly bounce on his shot from a sharp angle that glanced in off the goalkeeper’s hands late in the second half, allowing the Indians to tie host Floyd, 1-1, on Tuesday in a taut Suffolk I boys soccer match.
It was Mendoza-Yanes’ seventh goal of the season, an indication of the way the ball is bouncing for the senior. “Seven goals in five games. That’s pretty good,” said coach Ron Eden, whose club is 4-0-1 overall and 2-0-1 in league.
Floyd (3-1-1, 1-1-1) led for much of regulation time as Gio Fiore scored on a bullet that caromed in off the crossbar from dead center. It was the first of what Floyd coach Paul Paniccia’s predicts will be many for Fiore, a four-year varsity player. “He’s a top-50 guy. He’ll score a lot of goals for us. He’s been doing it since freshman year,” Paniccia said. “You’ll hear a lot more from him this year.”
After Fiore’s goal with 4:28 left in the first half, the Colonials continue to force the action. Brentwood keeper Brandon Valencia made two tough saves 10 minutes into the second half to keep it a one-goal game. “We knew Brentwood wasn’t done and we tried to keep attacking,” Paniccia said.
But it was the Indians, who counterpunched successfully when Mendoza-Yates got free down the right sideline and delivered a cross that he hoped a teammate would convert. “I had the ball out wide and I put it in the box. It took a bounce off the goalie and went in,” he said of his tally with 8:05 left. “Both teams were really going at it. We really wanted to win. You never know what’s going to happen in League I.”
The best scoring chance in OT came from Floyd midway through the second 10-minute extra period when Fiore took a left-footed shot from a sharp angle that nearly caught the far right corner. Both teams had corner kicks in overtime that were snatched out of danger by leaping goalkeepers.
“I thought it was a well-fought game both ways. Two good teams,” Eden said. “They’re a handful, especially on this field. We lost to them here last year. It’s early so we’re not too upset. It’s good to come back on the road.”
Eden predicted, “No one in League I is going undefeated,” citing several teams capable of knocking off perennial contenders Brentwood and Commack.
As Paniccia put it, “League I is brutal.”