RYE NECK, N.Y. – Rye Neck High School senior soccer player Orlando Gonzalez scored a game-winning goal with 15 seconds remaining in the Panthers’ 2-1 victory at Pleasantville on Tuesday.
It may seem unlikely that a regular season goal could be the most important in his many years as a player, but Gonzalez humbly said the strike was the biggest of his career.
“Yeah, I guess it would be,” Gonzalez said. “Last year, we lost our last game of the season and we could have made it to the playoffs…It was unfortunate that we didn’t make it to the playoffs that year.”
Gonzalez actually scored toward the end of that game, as well, but Rye Neck was losing and the referees ended the game because of darkness and the Panthers missed the playoffs.
But on Tuesday, the Panthers came out on top thanks to Gonzalez, who played both midfielder and forward throughout the afternoon. Ironically, the senior used to be blocking shots, not taking them.
“Last year, we took him out of goal and put him up at forward,” said eighth year co-head coach Bryan Iacovelli. “And he’s staying there now.”
Rye Neck is now 1-1 and will face Briarcliff on Thursday.