When Pierson/Bridgehampton’s goalkeeper, Kevin Feliciano, exited the soccer game early in the first half with an injury, the Whalers lost a key defensive midfielder as well as their first-string keeper. Johann Cardenas, a junior midfielder who serves as the team’s emergency backup goalie, was called upon to don the goalie gloves, leaving a void in the midfield.
Just like that, Greenport received two big breaks in one. Call it addition by subtraction.
It wasn’t enough, though.
After both teams scored on their first shots of the game, the scoring dried up, with the notable exception of Charlie Pintado’s first-half game-winner for Pierson/Bridgehampton. The Whalers may have felt as if they had dodged a bullet, holding on for a 2-1 win on Thursday at Greenport High School.
Pintado’s goal and Cardenas’ goalkeeping was just enough to put the Whalers (3-2, 2-0 in Suffolk County League VIII) on top.
After a pass by Cameron Burt found Pintado, and the junior midfielder found the left side of the net, snapping a 1-1 tie with 12 minutes 36 seconds left in the first half.
Greenport’s coach, Chris Golden, was encouraged by some of the things he saw from his young team, which started three freshmen and an eighth-grader, defender Chris Kuczynski.
The coach had to like what he saw just 73 seconds into the game when Bayron Rivas latched onto the end of a through ball from one of those freshmen, William Chapeton, and deposited a left-footed roller into the far side of the net for a 1-0 lead. It was Rivas’ third goal of the season.
The lead was short-lived, however. Just 55 seconds later, Pierson/Bridgehampton scored on a similar play at the other end. Sam Warne handled the honors, finishing off an assist by Jesus Padilla.
A little over two minutes later, Pierson/Bridgehampton lost Feliciano’s services for the day when he charged out toward the top of his penalty area to make a sprawling save, denying Rivas on a breakaway. In the process, however, Feliciano suffered a blow to his head. He was escorted off the field by his coach, Peter Solow, and Burton. Although Feliciano later appeared to be O.K., walking around behind the team bench, playing with a ball, he was kept out of the remainder of the game as a precautionary measure.
The Whalers paid a heavy price for the win. Solow said all four of his starting defenders were hurt in the game and he had to rely on junior varsity players.
Cardenas came to the rescue, putting on a pair of goalie gloves and a scrimmage vest before trotting to the goal. In his varsity debut as a goalkeeper, and the first time he played that position in a game in two years, Cardenas produced 70:37 of shutout soccer. He didn’t look out of place, didn’t make any mistakes and stopped three shots.
The Porters lacked the finishing touch. Perhaps their best chance for a second goal came late in the first half when Jacob Kahn pushed a ball forward for Rivas, who lifted his attempt wide. The Porters put only one of their seven second-half shots on goal.
The best scoring chance for either side in the second half belonged to Pierson/Bridgehampton. Pintado, on a ball from Burton, struck a blast off the crossbar and the Porters scrambled to clear.
The Porters (0-5, 0-2) were outscored by 24-4 in their previous four games, all against tough opponents: Rocky Point, Southampton, Southold and Center Moriches.