By Laura Amato
Daniel Castro was frustrated. He’d missed his chance—a picture-perfect breakaway opportunity that he sent wide of the net—and the Bayside senior knew it was a play he wouldn’t get again. That was, of course, unless he made sure he got another scoring chance.
So that’s what Castro did.
The Commodores’ left wing continued to push the ball, attacking the net until, finally, the ball bounced off his foot and landed in the corner of the net in the 64th minute. The go-ahead goal helped lift the Bayside boys soccer team to a 4-1 victory over Cardozo Monday afternoon, wrapping up the Queens A East divisional title and sending the Commodores into the postseason with an extra spring in their step.
Castro wasn’t quite as frustrated about that.
“You’ve just got to keep going and keep pushing,” Castro said. “Once I got my confidence going I started to play a little bit harder and I got the goal.”
Castro’s goal came at the perfect time—after Bayside struggled to maintain the ball offensively and just six minutes after the Judges tied up the game on a George Adamou penalty kick.
The Commodores’ offense seemed sparked by the play and, from there on out, Bayside pushed the ball forward with relative ease, connecting on two more goals in the 70th and 72nd minutes to take a commanding lead.
“This team has a lot of potential and we have a lot of talent,” said senior midfielder Kenneth Garcia, who netted his goal on a perfect cross from Joseph Sepulveda. “We’re just trying to get together on the field and build chemistry and continue into the playoffs like that.”
Goalie Ivan Barrera kept ‘Dozo from cutting into the lead late in the second half, coming up with several big saves.
“He’s dynamite,” Bayside coach Joe Corrado said. “He’s the vocal and the presence leader on this team. He really is a tremendous player.”
Emotions stayed high throughout the closing minutes, but despite the early miscues and could-have-been goals, Bayside’s offense settled into the game plan down the stretch and proved just how capable this team is of putting points on the board.
“We know if we have those kinds of chances we can get goals,” Castro said. “In these kinds of games you can be calm and kind of settled or you can just give it everything you’ve got and, with this team, we give it everything we’ve got.”
The Commodores have come up short of their final goal in each of the last two seasons—falling in the PSAL semifinals—but this year Bayside is confident in its entire roster and, most importantly, its ability to channel frustration into goals.
After all, there’s something to be said for sheer determination.
“I think that sometimes they’re kids and they lose their heads, but they came back,” Corrado said. “We got some bad breaks here and there, but I think they did a great job of getting themselves set up and prepared to go into the postseason. We should have a great seed and I’m proud of them.”