With his team on the brink of elimination with only seconds left in regulation, Nathaniel Austin prolonged the Brentwood boys soccer season. Then in overtime, he sent the hometown faithful into a frenzy.
With 9:10 remaining in the second 15-minute overtime, Austin took a pass from Juan Gomez inside the 18-yard box and slotted it into the back of the net. His golden goal led No. 1 Brentwood past No. 5 Smithtown West, 3-2, in a Suffolk Class AA semifinal Monday.
“No words can explain how I am feeling right now,” Austin said. “[Gomez] has been starting for a few games and has been a good asset to the team. He saw me, looked up and slotted it right to me. I told myself ‘bring it home, bring it home’ and that’s exactly what I did.”
Austin’s season-saving performance began when he flicked in a Brandon Yanez corner kick with 18 seconds in regulation left to tie the score at 2.
As the clock continued to tick, Yanez hustled over to the corner flag as Brentwood goalkeeper Anthony Molina came up the field from his goalkeeper position to fill the box. Yanez swung his left leg, and the ball bounced in the box. Austin was able to get his foot on it as it floated into the goal.
“I couldn’t believe it, we were 18 seconds away from going home,” Yanez said. “Having the chance to go to the county final is unexplainable. I don’t know what to say. I am happy that everyone on my team gets to enjoy this moment. It’s for everybody, for the whole Brentwood community.”
The Indians (18-0) play No. 2 Commack at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Diamond in the Pines in the county final.
“We go for beach runs at the cross country course at Sunken Meadow in the offseason, and the last thing we do after a six-mile run is make them run a mile in the heavy sand on the beach,” Brentwood coach Ron Eden said. I told my team, ‘You feel how your body feels right now, this is the sprint that we do down the beach, this is the last overtime, leave it here.’ ”
Yanez put the Indians on the board midway through the first half, as Alex Garcia launched a free kick from near midfield into the penalty area that landed on the head of Austin, who redirected it to Yanez for a 1-0 lead.
The Indians led 1-0 at halftime, but with 22:23 left in the regulation, Smithtown West (12-3-1) pulled even. Jensen Argueta took a pass from Trevor Harrison outside the top of the 18-yard box and lifted a shot into the top left-corner of the goal.
Just six minutes later, Harrison sent a cross in front of the goal that found the foot of Matthew Nieto for a 2-1 lead.
“You’re seeing your season from the first day, from the first training session, from the first practice all going out the window,” Eden said. “We got caught sleeping for a few minutes. They left their hearts on the field. They were shot, but somehow, they found it.”