Anthony Papadopoulos has a knack for the big moment.
“When we’re losing and we need a goal,” Papadopoulos said, “I want to be the guy to score.”
Already with two winning goals this season, Papadopoulos can add a tying goal to his junior year list of accomplishments, scoring the final goal in Island Trees’ 1-1 tie with host Seaford in a Nassau A-VI boys soccer match Monday morning.
“His goals always seem to be in the right place and the right time and always when we need him,” Island Trees coach Ray Due said. “He just reads the play well. He’s always in the right place at the right time.”
After Seaford’s Matt Garcia headed in the game’s first goal off a cross from Anthony Ippoliti 10 minutes into the second half, Island Trees’ goal came off its strengths.
Island Trees (5-2-2) capitalized off a long throw-in from Joe Imbro, which Nick Cardinali flicked with his head toward Papadopoulos, who scored with 14 minutes remaining to tie the score at 1 for the Bulldogs.
“At that point, our throw-in is kind of a secret weapon. So I said, ‘Let’s take a shot with it,’” Due said. “It was 30 yards out and he just launched it in and we were hoping to clean it up and got a lucky break.”
Seaford (4-3-2) broke through with the header from Garcia, a freshman who has become one of the Vikings’ go-to players.
“He’s a freshman, but he doesn’t play like a freshman,” Seaford coach Ralph Pascarella said. “We’re not surprised. He’s probably our best soccer player. He’s a freshman, but we don’t treat him like that. He has a good soccer brain and he’s pretty savvy.”
Garcia passed the credit to his teammates for setting up the play, especially Ippoliti for sending over the cross.
“It was a good ball from Anthony and I just put my head together for a tap-in,” Garcia said. “It felt good to put the team ahead against a tough opponent.”
Mark Armano had nine saves for Seaford, with strong play by the backline of Brian Rodriguez, Matt Meyer, Joe Chiarelli and Ippoliti.
For Island Trees, Sergio Astudillo had three saves in the first half and Nick Drew made two saves in the second half.
Even though Island Trees’ late goal meant Seaford left the field without a victory Monday, the Vikings still clinched a playoff berth with the tie, Pascarella said.
“They’re a good soccer team,” Pascarella said. “We gave up one in the end a little, but we’ll take a point.”