Eder Argueta made sure that Endi Fernandez’s remarkable performance in Friday night’s Nassau Class AA boys soccer semifinal didn’t go to waste.
Argueta scorched the winning penalty kick into the back of the net after a well-played game ended in a scoreless tie, leading No. 3 Uniondale over No. 2 Port Washington at Farmingdale State. Argueta, Edgar Velasquez, Mirsan Padilla and Ruben Rodriquez each scored as Uniondale advanced on penalty kicks, 4-2.
Fernandez made nine saves and also saved Port Washington’s first penalty kick. Uniondale (9-3-3) plays top-seeded Massapequa (13-2-1) for the county championship on Wednesday at 5 p.m. at Mitchel Athletic Complex.
One of Fernandez’s many show-stopping saves came on what appeared to be a sure goal in the 47th minute. Jose Lima Sagastume struck a well-placed free kick from about 25 yards away into the upper-right corner, but Fernandez timed his leap perfectly and tipped the shot over the crossbar.
He made another save with 7:25 left in regulation when he dove to his right to save a hot shot from 15 yards away.
“I have faith in my keeper, and my keeper showed it to me today," Argueta said.
Port Washington (11-3-2) keeper Dimitri Zerakhto made four saves, including a close-range stop with 14:43 left in regulation.
Port Washington’s offense looked to be in sync, even as repeated possessions came up empty. Much of that could be attributed to Fernandez. Coach Cohen Nelson summed up his performance in a single word: “Guts.”
Fernandez deferred praise, instead saying the win was about more than himself. Nelson, however, continually praised Fernandez’s leadership in the tight game.
“I would’ve liked to win it earlier, but we did what we had to do,” Fernandez said. “This means a lot for us, for the community.”