The young man with the longest name on the Greenport High School boys soccer team may utter the fewest words. Cristian Quezada Arevalo doesn’t have much to say. He lets his play speak for itself. It speaks volumes.
Out of curiosity, Quezada Arevalo was asked how many goals he scored last year.
His answer: “None. Zero.”
That comes as a surprise considering what Quezada Arevalo has done so far in this young season. Through five games the senior striker has been involved in eight of Greenport’s 10 goals, scoring six of them and assisting on two others. Now that’s big-time production.
What’s the explanation?
“I don’t know,” he answered. “I don’t know what to tell you right now. I’m feeling great.”
As he should.
Quezada Arevalo had his second multi-goal game and was involved in all three Greenport goals in a 3-1 victory over visiting Hampton Bays Wednesday. After setting up Jose Ramirez, who scored on Greenport’s first shot, Quezada Arevalo added two goals himself before the first half ended.
“That’s incredible,” Greenport goalkeeper Felipe Solis said. “He’s like a whole new level of soccer out there.”
Quezada Arevalo showed what he can do, running onto a cross-field pass from Kevin Azama and blasting a shot in off goalkeeper Matt Arroyo’s hands to give Greenport (3-2 overall and in Suffolk County League VII) a 2-0 lead from three shots.
The third Greenport goal originated from a Joshua Santacroce throw-in. Quezada Arevalo ripped into the bouncing ball, making it 3-0.
“Honestly, he’s played amazing for us,” said Azama, a left midfielder. “He’s definitely improved from last season, and he’s just always there. He has a lot skill and he’s always going after the ball, trying to win balls, trying to score.”
Greenport coach Greg Dlhopolsky coached Quezada Arevalo in junior high school and knew he was a goal scorer back then. “Even [in] junior high, he had one of the most wicked shots I’ve ever had a kid on junior high have,” said Dlhopolsky.
“He’s been involved in everything for us offensively the whole season,” Dlhopolsky said. “He’s a force to be reckoned with up top. He’s quiet. He plays his game and he leaves it all on the field.”
If Quezada Arevalo’s emergence hasn’t been a revelation to Dlhopolsky, his team’s play might be. The Porters provided something of an eye-opener in a loss, of all things — a 3-2 defeat to Center Moriches on Monday. That would be the Red Devils, the defending Suffolk County Class B champions, two years removed from a state championship. Greenport led in the game and had a defender, Santacroce, playing goal that day in place of the missing Solis.
“When we went toe to toe with them, I think it really gave them some confidence that they can play with every team in this league,” said Dlhopolsky.
The Porters lost 10 players (nine starters) from their 2018 team, which went 12-6, won its first county championship in 10 years and reached the Southeast Region Class C final for the first time since 2005. That left enough question marks for one to wonder how they will fare in rugged League VII this season.
“Right now we’re looking alright,” Azama said. “Every game that we play, we’re improving and improving. It’s going good.”
Greenport has been receiving fine goalkeeping from Solis, who made seven saves against Hampton Bays (2-3, 2-3) and was deserving of a shutout. With less than 10 minutes left to play, that shutout was lost when Cris Vasquez slid the ball into the net after a pass from Milan Moraga.
Earlier in the second half, Juan Alape fed a ball to Darwin Fernandes, who fired a shot beyond the diving Solis and off the far right goalpost. Later, a ball deflected into Moraga’s path, but his close-range shot was smothered nicely by Solis.
Dlhopolsky, in his first year coaching the team, likes what he’s been seeing.
“I’m enjoying it,” he said. “I hope they are, too. That’s the other thing, too. I’ve been saying to them that winning is great, but this game is played to have fun. If you’re not having fun, it’s not worth it, so to be having fun and to be winning a little bit is really nice. I’m enjoying watching them play.”
Quezada Arevalo seems to be enjoying himself, too. After the game the player of few words, said, “I’m feeling happy right now.”
Photo caption: Hampton Bays’ Darwin Fernandes, left, and Greenport’s Drew Wolf tangle for the ball during the first half. (Credit: Bob Liepa)