LAGRANGEVILLE – Luis Galeano recognized the moment for what it was. He had two defenders to beat, time running out, and a scoreboard showing a tied game. For a Rye Neck sophomore with something to prove, this was the time to prove it.
“I wanted to take the perfect shot,” Galeano said. “It was late in the game. I didn’t want to waste an opportunity.”
Fired into the left side of the net, Galeano’s second goal of the night gave Rye Neck a stunning 3-2 win against Bronxville for the Class B sectional final at Arlington High School on Saturday night. Galeano broke away from two defenders and scored the game-winner with less than two minutes to play.
“He’s a special player, he really is,” Rye Neck coach Bryan Iacovelli said. “He’s got soccer awareness, and more than that, just his competitiveness. He just hates to lose. He plays the game that way. You saw it today. He fought for those two goals. Especially that last one.”
With only three seniors in the starting lineup, Rye Neck is a team of underclassmen that came into this game as an underdog. Not only was this Bronxville’s seventh finals appearance in nine years, but when these two teams met during the regular season, Bronxville won in a 4-0 blowout.
But that score was deceiving.
Rye Neck played that early October matchup with multiple starters out of the lineup, including Galeano – the team’s leading scorer this season – who was suspended because of too many yellow cards.
The official record with show that these teams had played one another once before, but with Rye Neck at full-strength, this was a different story. And Galeano was a difference maker.
“We wanted Bronxville because that 4-0 loss was just awful,” Galeano said. “We wanted our revenge, and I’m very glad we got it today.”
After the teams traded unusual goals early in the first half — Bronxville scored on a shot that trickled off the left post; Rye Neck tied it on a ball that somehow got past the Broncos defense – Galeano’s first go-ahead goal came with just under 20 minutes to play in the first half, and it was emphatic.
He cut across the field from left to right, fired a rocket into the back of the net, and put Rye Neck in front 2-1. The Panthers greatest weapon had made his presence felt, and he immediately ran up the sideline, tugged at his jersey, and thrust a fist in the air.
A little more than 10 minutes into the second half, Bronxville captain Mike Crawford corralled a ball on the left side of the goal and fired a quick shot that tied the game at 2, but the Rye Neck defense – led by Rich Barrios and Will Galeano — kept it there until opportunity present itself.
“From Day 1, they said this is what they wanted, and they came out and did it,” Iacovelli said. “That’s what’s satisfying to me. This is what they wanted, and they came out and accomplished it.”