With 11 minutes left in the second half of a tense, hard-fought Suffolk League I battle at William Floyd, Brentwood coach Ron Eden sent Johnatan Mendoza-Yanes to the scorers table with a message.
“Get me the goal, Johnny,” Eden said as the senior forward checked back into the match.
Mendoza-Yanes delivered, netting the equalizer three minutes later as Brentwood and Floyd played to an entertaining 1-1 draw in a battle of county title contenders Tuesday in Mastic Beach.
“My mentality is always to score, help us win games and just help this team win at the end,” Mendoza-Yanes said.
It was an acceptable, if not satisfying, result for the defending county champions, who rallied from their first halftime deficit of the season.
“It’s good that we got the away point,” Mendoza-Yanes said. “We came back even stronger, had chances, opportunities, but we were a little unlucky there.”
Mendoza-Yanes played a ball toward the goal from the right sideline that bounced twice before deflecting in off Floyd goalkeeper Gavin Samuelson, who came off his line to challenge Brentwood’s Juan Gomez.
“I got the ball out wide. I was looking to put it in, but I got lucky and it went in,” Mendoza-Yanes said of his seventh goal of the season. “It was very emotional because I’m a senior and I tied the game.”
Gio Fiore put Floyd (3-1-1) in front four minutes before halftime with a sensational shot, blasting the ball in off the crossbar off a feed from Elvin Carranza.
The Colonials, who beat Brentwood at home last year, had the first quality chance of the game, but Brentwood goalkeeper Brandon Valencia dived to his right to parry away Yorlin Mancata’s attempt for a Floyd corner kick in the 22nd minute.
“My team came here ready to battle,” Fiore said. “All week in practice coach told us we can compete with these guys, we can compete with anybody in the league. That’s what we did today.”
Both teams had chances to win the game in the two wide-open 10-minute overtime periods. Fiore twice latched onto Evan Meinke corner kicks, but the senior forward headed wide five minutes into overtime and then had his sliding shot saved by Valencia.
Three minutes later, Fiore’s attempt rolled just wide of the far post on a quick counter started by Samuelson.
In the final minute of the second OT, Floyd’s Mert Altun had a shot nearly redirect in off a Brentwood defender.
“I came here looking for nothing but a win. We’ll take it,” Fiore said. “Next time we play hopefully we can take a W away from that, but its better than leaving with no points at the end of the day.”
The result further proved how open Suffolk AA is this season, with Brentwood (4-0-1), Floyd, Commack, Walt Whitman and Newfield all in contention this fall.
“Now they’re in the running,” Eden said of Floyd. “I said nobody in the league is going undefeated and I maintain that.”