The formula for the Garden City boys soccer team in the playoffs has been simple: Put up a shutout and find a way to score.
Goalkeeper Joe Griffin and the Trojans defense continued what they have done throughout this postseason, while Owen Weiland and James Basile each scored for No. 6 Garden City. It all added up to an impressive 2-0 win against a gritty No. 5 MacArthur in the Nassau A boys soccer final at Hofstra on Wednesday.
Garden City (12-2-5) faces the winner of Thursday’s Suffolk A final between No. 1 Hauppauge and No. 2 Amityville at 3:30 p.m. Sunday for the Long Island championship at Mitchel Athletic Complex.
“This is very special to be the first team to win a title since 1999,” said Griffin, who had seven saves, including two huge stops in the second half. “We made history and brought a championship back to Garden City.”
But not without a fight from MacArthur (13-2-3).
Griffin challenged MacArthur’s Dan Conigliaro on a breakaway and was able to kick the ball away with 24:02 left in regulation.
Later, Nick Gino had a great opportunity with 21:27 remaining, but Griffin made a one-handed stop and kept the ball from reaching the back of the net.
MacArthur couldn’t convert a point-blank chance for the equalizer with 18:44 to go.
“We knew they weren’t going to give up; they played great,” Garden City coach Paul Cutter said. “Fortunately, we just had enough at the end.”
The Trojans also had enough early. Wieland took a cross from Luke Connolly and buried a beauty into the upper left corner just four minutes into play as the Trojans had an early 1-0 lead.
“I saw space and just let it go,” Wieland said. “We knew how important an early goal would be.”
Why? Because the Garden City ‘D’ has not allowed a goal in the playoffs now with four straight shutouts.
MacArthur pulled goalkeeper Christian Bellia (6 saves) with under two minutes left and put in Ken Barrett to push up on the Generals’ attack.
But Basile made MacArthur pay with the game’s second goal with 16 seconds remaining, setting off a raucous celebration.
“This is a special group,” said Cutter, who starts five sophomores. “We haven’t been here since 2009. This isn’t just about us, this one is for the former players, the parents and the town of Garden City.”