After a tight back and forth defensive battle, Daniel Santos had the game at his feet.
The sophomore made no mistake and deposited the ball into the back of the net with nine minutes remaining as host Oceanside defeated Farmingdale, 1-0, in a Nassau AA-I boys soccer game Thursday.
"It was a blessing considering how little time was left that an opportunity like that presented itself," Santos said.
It was made possible by a slick setup in front by Jake Denicker, who corralled the ball to the left of the goal after forward Christopher Evans carried it down the field and into prime scoring territory.
"We knew we just had to get a goal," Denicker said. "We had to put one on the board and get the team up and then go from there."
Both teams had chances in the first half, highlighted by Farmingdale’s Cesar Lopez, who just missed scoring on multiple occasions. He smashed a shot off the crossbar from about 30-yards out and also forced Oceanside goalkeeper Scott Campuzano to make a leaping save that resulted in a corner on another great strike.
Oceanside’s best chance before the goal came off a diving header attempt in the first half from Benjamin Sanchez that sailed just wide after a cross from Tyler Cinamon.
But in the second half the Sailors were able to take control of the action before finally cashing in.
"We were much happier with how we used the whole field in the second half and that worked to our advantage when we were finally able to get one," Oceanside coach Pat Turk said. "Anytime you can get a result where you’re getting points is huge and if you can get the three points and the win that’s going to matter so much when you go into the postseason."
The importance of every point in a condensed season was echoed by Santos.
"Considering the season is shortened we need to make the most out of every game," he said. "This is definitely going to help us towards making it to the playoffs."
Part of the Sailors success the last two seasons has come because of the ability of multiple players to adapt to different positions and make plays from all over the field.
"If anybody gets injured or anything we have a guy that can step up and fill that spot," center back Matthew Meagher said. Meagher was the team’s leading scorer last season.
"Everybody can play every position," Denicker, a defender said. "There’s not one player that can only play one."