Mineola's Christian Melendez leaps high to control the ball during...

Mineola's Christian Melendez leaps high to control the ball during 2-0 win over host Carle Place on Sept. 26, 2016. Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy

Something odd happened Monday at Carle Place.

Mineola star forward Dimas Cabrera did not score a goal. Nor did he assist on a goal. The only two times this season that Cabrera did not register a point, the Mustangs had lost.

Not Monday, though.

Christian Melendez and Erick Marquez each scored in the first 12 minutes, and Mineola defeated Carle Place, 2-0, in a key Nassau ABC-III matchup featuring the county’s top goal scorers in Cabrera (13) and Carle Place’s Tommy Browne (12).

First-place Mineola (7-1) extended its lead over Carle Place (5-2-1) to five points.

“(Not scoring) really doesn’t bother me,” Cabrera said. “At the end of the day the score was 2-0 and we’re all a family and we’re all just trying to win as a team.”

Cabrera still played a critical role in the Mustangs’ first goal. When Melendez gained control of the ball at midfield on the left side, Cabrera streaked down the near flank. He brought Josias Pena, who marked him all day, with him and attracted the attention of other Frogs defenders. That cleared space for Melendez, who dribbled to the top of the 18-yard box and finished with his right foot in the bottom left corner around the eight-minute mark.

“When he attracts everybody, they’re not expecting me to run that fast,” Melendez said. “That’s when it all starts to break down. For him to be on the team, it’s a really big part.”

Four minutes later, Marquez gathered a free kick that deflected off a Carle Place defender’s back. He ripped a ball into the bottom left corner from nearly the identical spot of Melendez’s shot.

“I just had to do my job and finish,” Marquez said.

Both Melendez and Marquez had scored just once all year, but coach Paul Pereira said that signified his team’s depth. Twelve Mustangs have scored. Luis Tinoco has eight goals, and Justin Bracken has five. Besides them and Cabrera, no one has more than two.

“You look at our roster and there’s multiple guys with goals, so it’s tough,” Pereira said. “OK, you mark Dimas, but then Melendez scores or Tinoco scores or Marquez scores or (Brandon) Mendes scores.”

The Mustangs started a tough week on a good note. They’ll play Friends Academy (6-1-1) on Wednesday and Island Trees (3-2-2) on Friday.

“I told them I want to control our destiny,” Pereira said, “and right now we do.”


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