Glen Cove defeatd Baldwin in the O-30/O-40 LISFL indoor final. (FrontRowSoccer.com Photo)
By Michael Lewis
UNIONDALE, N.Y. – Talk about being a double threat.
About a minute after making his second save of the shootout, Glen Cove goalkeeper Linbert Wright converted the game-winning penalty kick to boost to team to Over-30/O-40 crown of the Joe Goldberg Memorial Indoor Soccer tournament on Sunday.
Glen Cove outlasted Baldwin, 6-5, in the tie-breaker after playing to a 1-1 draw in the Long Island Soccer Football League tourney at the Global Sports Center.
It was the third successive championship in that age bracket for Glen Cove, which defeated the Garden City Centennials, 3-1, in the quarterfinals, and edge Lindenhurst O-40’s in a shootout, 3-2, after playing to a 1-1 deadlock in regulation.
Wright said the key for his success was to keep his concentration.
“You have to keep focused because when you come to a penalty shootout, you can’t rely on the goalkeeper,” he said. “You’ve got to win it for your team. So, I decided once I go to the finals and it’s a penalty shootout, I’m going to win it for my team.”
Being a goalkeeper, Wright knew what to look for in the opposing keeper during the shootout. He studied the Baldwin netminder.
“I kept looking at him in the goal and tried to find his weakness,” he said. “His weakness is to his left side. So, I decided to go to his left side, which is his weak side.”
To the shooter, that would be to the right side as Wright drilled his attempt into the lower right side for the winner. Glen Cove earned $650 for winning the title while Baldwin took home $450.
Damion Banan scored Glen Cove’s lone goal in regulation.
For player-head coach Victor Avwontom, Glen Cove made it a little too dramatic.
“We left it for late, of course,”: he said. “We did not use every single component of our game as we know how to. We won. We’re not totally happy as to how we performed on the field.”
With the start of the LISFL spring season slated to begin on March 8, Avwontom felt the indoor tournament was the perfect competition for Glen Cove to prepare for its next challenge.
“Especially when we come out of the winter where most of the guys are not playing a lot, it’s good to get a tournament like this where we perform well,” he said.
Glen Cove hopes to add some more trophies to its collection this spring. The team is in the Eastern New York State Soccer Association final in its age group and has reached the LISFL Cup quarterfinals.
“We’re playing for bigger things,” Avwontom said. “We want the State Cup. We want the league cup. We are trying to go to aspire for bigger things. It’s always good to win. It’s a good habit but we want the State Cup.”