KINGSTON, N.Y. — When he starts a game on the bench, Giuseppe Barone makes sure he watches the action quite intently, especially the opposing goalkeeper.
He wants to learn the keeper’s habits and movements just in case he gets an opportunity to come on as a substitute, which the midfielder did in the New York Cosmos game against Kingston Stockade FC at Dietz Stadium on Saturday.
Barone noticed a possible weakness with keeper Lucas Vallilo.
“I knew the goalkeeper was out [of the net] a lot of times,” he said.
So, only two minutes entering the match in the 68th minute, Barone took advantage of Vallilo’s roaming nature and scored the goal — a golazo — of the young National Premier Soccer League season.
Barone connected for an astonishing 50-yard wonder goal that sealed the Cosmos’ 2-0 victory and left spectators, coaches and teammates in awe.
“Just unbelievable,” head coach Carlos Mendes said.
“I was honestly in shock,” said Giuseppe’s brother, Cosmos midfielder Salvatore Barone. “It was an amazing goal. So happy for him.”
“I never scored a goal like that so I guess I can cross it off,” Giuseppe said of his unofficial soccer bucket list. “I’m happy to get it.”
That, is, his first game with the Cosmos after spending a couple of seasons with the Brooklyn Italians.
Barone barely had gotten his feet wet after replacing Aaron Dennis, who tallied the first goal off a 37th-minute header. After a long clearance from the left side of the field, Charlie Ledula, another second-half sub, passed the ball to his teammate. The 5-7, 160-lb. Barone gathered in the ball at the 50-yard line, took and step and fired a shot (the Kingston goal was in the end zone of the field, which had football lines) that sailed over Vallilo’s head, took one bounce just before the goal line and bounced and settled into the left side of the unattended net.
“When the ball came over and Charlie battled for it, I knew he came out,” Barone said. “I looked at the corner of my eye and I knew he was out. As soon as I put it down, I hit it right away. At first it looked like it was going wide and at the last second, it just kind of seeped its way in, which was pretty cool. I kind of reacted late to the goal. Just happy to get the win and a goal is always great.”
Particularly such a highlight-reel worthy goal such as that one, which probably comes once in a lifetime.
Mendes, his coaching staff and several players had a ringside seat to the goal on the bench.
“As soon as he hit it, we kind of knew,” Mendes said. “Obviously, I wasn’t expecting him to hit it, but once he did and we looked, we saw him [the goalkeeper] out and said, ‘This is a goal, this is a goal.’ The whole bench got up and like wow. Just an unbelievable goal. Just the way he hit. Not easy, not easy. Very clever. And, that’s what he can do. He’s a smart player, he’s technical and scored a brilliant goal today.
“Great goal by Giuseppe. The difference in the game.”
While his teammates congregated to congratulate him on the goal, Barone bolted to the far side of the field where about two dozen members of the 5 Points were cheering his accomplishment.
“I was just excited to want to share it with the fans because they came out all the way here,” Barone said. “The support from them was amazing and I just wanted to celebrate it with them.
“For them to keep doing that, we’ll get more wins.”
For his efforts, the 20-year-old Barone was named man of the match and received a belt not unlike what a wrestling champion would earn, with a couple of Cosmos logos on it. Cosmos equipment manager Artie Verdi awarded it to him after the game.
“It’s amazing what he’s doing this year and you get the belt if you’re man of the match,” Barone said. “The whole week the belt will be right on top of your locker in the locker room.”
Barone’s golazo was reminiscent of the one former Cosmos B midfielder Rafa Garcia tallied against the Brooklyn Italians from midfield in a 2-1 win last year. As it turned out, Barone was on the field as a member of the Italians that game.
“I think he maybe took one from Rafa,” Mendes said. “Either way, difficult to pull off.”
Indeed, it was.
“I don’t think any direct inspiration, but the goal that he had was definitely a great one,” Barone said. “When you have those opportunities when the goalkeeper is off his line, you do it. It’s amazing and it’s a good feeling when it goes into the back of the net.”
While growing up in Brooklyn, older brother Salvatore, 23, who started and played the entire match, and Giuseppe practiced together and tried to score some unusual goals.
“For the fun of it,” Salvatore said. “We practiced the side volleys and we loved doing it.”
The brothers are getting the chance to play together for the first time since high school (Xaverian High School). They appeared briefly together in the opening match, but had a longer stint together on the field on Saturday. In college, Salvatore played for St. Francis Brooklyn, Giuseppe for LIU Brooklyn.
“It was different, but once we stepped onto the field together, we felt in sync right away,” Salvatore said. “We’re always training together in the offseason, always playing together. It felt weird, but at the same time it felt natural to us. We always know where each other is going to be. He plays out wide and I play more in the center. It was fun.”
Giuseppe added: “It was good. When I got on, he was behind me. He was giving me instructions. So it’s always good to get instructions from him. Tried to give my best and thankful we got the result.”
The result was the second successive 2-0 win, coming off the heels of last week’s season-opening triumph at home as the Cosmos improved to 2-0.
Giuseppe Barone felt it was vital to secure a win in the first road match of the season.
“Definitely,” he said. “Some of the newer guys got to see what away games are like, how it’s a bit tough and it’s not easy with the circumstances that are throw at us.”
Added Salvatore: “It was important. Today was their home opener, so they came out very excited. They came out 100 miles an hour. We knew it was going to be a tough game and we knew we needed to win to keep the momentum going. So, it was a very important three points.”
This week the Barones and the Cosmos will have two opportunities to keep the momentum going.
They host Black Rock FC in the first round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup at Rocco B. Commisso Stadium in New York City on Wednesday, May 8 at 7:30 p.m.
The Cosmos will welcome Boston City FC for an NPSL encounter at Mitchel Athletic Complex in Uniondale, N.Y. at 7 p.m. on Saturday, May 11.