One team started out well: Brentwood. The other team came back: Commack.
But neither of the top two boys soccer teams in Suffolk I could finish scoring chances in the final 17-plus minutes of regulation and a pair of 10-minute overtime periods. The result was a hard-fought 2-2 tie before a boisterous Brentwood crowd of 400 on Monday.
How one looked at the tie depended on the uniform they were wearing.
“This was huge for us,” said Commack junior midfielder Tyler Meotti. “This gives us lots of momentum, and will help us close out our last three [regular-season] games.”
“We were looking for the win and we had it at the start,” Brentwood senior forward Wilber Gomez said. “We had our chances, too, but we couldn’t finish.”
But second-place Brentwood (8-1-2) certainly knew how to start. The Indians received goals from Johnathan Mendoza-Yanes off a corner kick in the 14th minute, and Juan Camillo Montanez in the 16th minute and led 2-0.
“We came out a little bit flat,” Commack coach Dave Moran said. “Anytime you make a mistake against Brentwood, they put one in the back of the net.”
Commack (9-1-1) rallied with a goal from Aidan Keenan in the 24th minute and the Indians’ lead was cut in half.
“They always pile guys up in box,” said Brentwood senior goalkeeper Brandon Valencia, who had 10 saves. “One of their players pushed me, and it caused trouble, and they tapped it in.”
Brentwood Ron Eden had a feeling his Indians had to score again.
“We started well, but we needed the third goal,” Eden said. “We knew [a] 2-1 [lead] was going to be a problem.”
Eden was right. Commack’s Nick Mastroianni flicked a header off a corner kick midway through the second half. The ball bounced around the Brentwood box and Meotti netted the equalizer in the 63rd minute.
“We started the game rough and came out nervous,” Meotti said. “But after [Brentwood’s] second goal we settled down.”
How bad did the first-place Cougars want the win? Senior midfielder Bobby Abshire made a hard run inside the box with under five minutes left in regulation on a Commack corner kick. Abshire one-timed a shot that hit the near post and bounced out of bounds. But his momentum on a wet field carried him — knee first — into the post. Abshire was forced to leave the game.
Abshire was taken to a hospital and X-rays revealed no structural damage to his right knee, but he did receive stitches for a deep cut, Moran said.
“They look pretty happy with the tie. I’m not happy. It feels like a loss,” Eden said. “It’s always the way I feel when we tie. I just don’t like ties. I like to win games.”