In order to complete their quest for a second consecutive Nassau Class AA title, the Massapequa boys soccer team understands that the play of Thomas O’Neill will be the focal point.
And as they completed their regular-season campaign on Wednesday at home against Uniondale, their opponent in last season’s county final, the senior midfielder demonstrated his worth yet again.
In typical fashion this season, O’Neill was all over the field, tallying two goals and one assist as he sparked Massapequa to a 3-0 Nassau AA-II victory.
"He’s everything for us," Massapequa coach Matthew Burke said of O’Neill. "He makes everything go in the midfield. He can get forward, defend and has a motor like no one else. He’s the heart of the team."
O’Neil knocked in a corner kick with 28 minutes remaining in the first half to net the first of his two goals. He later broke away behind the defense and fired one past the goalie for his second score of the day 10 minutes before halftime.
"Good passes from my teammates, for sure," O’Neill said. "Just trusting myself and my ability. I’m really confident in myself right now."
Junior midfielder Joseph McCabe, who opened the scoring less than two minutes in as he headed in a corner kick, lauded O’Neill as one of the premier players around.
"He’s one of the best players in the county, if not all of Long Island," McCabe said. "He’s great and a very key player on our team."
Massapequa (7-1-1) controlled possession throughout the match and gave Uniondale (1-6-1) fits with a stout defensive performance.
"Between Mike Savella in the back – I think he’s started every game for us for three years now," Burke said, "and Connor Lapre and Matthew Aglietti stepping in, and Colin Mushorn on the outside, I have a lot of faith in those guys in the back. So to get a clean sheet was nice."
Now Massapequa shifts its focus to returning to the county championship and lifting the trophy once again.
"We’ve been there before so we’re pretty confident and trust ourselves," O’Neill said. "I think we have great chances. It’s going to be tough but I believe in us and our coaching staff that we’ll be able to get it done."