The Brazilian delivers
Gorayeb goal beats La Plata
By AJ MASON
Many shot attempts went wide or hit the goal the post in Tuesday evening’s Southern Maryland Athletic Conference boys soccer contest between host La Plata and Chopticon.
Despite all the near misses, Chopticon would finally deliver with eight minutes remaining in the game.
On a tight through-ball from senior midfielder Eric Jimenez, junior sweeper Gabriel Costa Gorayeb gathered control of the ball with his back to the goal.
Gorayeb then kicked the ball up and bounced it off his chest. Then while it was in the air, he turned and nailed a 18-yard shot with his right foot that went in the left corner of the net.
That goal lifted the Braves to the eventual 1-0 victory, their third straight win.
“Gabe is a dangerous player on our team, it was an amazing shot,” Chopticon head coach Eryk Peska said. “He controlled the ball, Eric gave him a great through-ball and he put one in the left corner of the net.”
Gorayeb, an exchange student from Brazil, received many congratulations from his coaches and teammates when the game’s final whistle blew.
“When I saw the opportunity, I just shot it,” Gorayeb said. “It was a very exciting moment and I was happy to help the team win.”
Chopticon (5-3-1, 5-3-1 SMAC) took on visiting McDonough on Thursday, a game that finished too late for inclusion into this edition, and will be at Westlake at 5 p.m. Monday.
It was the second straight loss for La Plata (5-4, 5-4), which was at Huntingtown on Thursday, also a game that finished too late for inclusion into this edition, and will host Thomas Stone at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
“That is always one of the hardest shots to make when you have your back to the goal,” La Plata head coach Chris Butler said. “That was just a beautiful shot at the top of the 18. That shot was unsavable.”
Chopticon senior goalie Doug Dixon, and three-year starter, had one of his best games in his high school career, collecting 12 saves with an array of La Plata shots coming at him all game long.
“I couldn’t let any ball get past me,” Dixon said. “I was looking to distribute the ball up the field and get our team going in transition, it was there. All the goalie training from Jim Reulet and Coach Eryk has paid off. That’s something that I worked on all summer and continue to work on every day in practice.”
Dixon made many big saves in the second half, but nothing was bigger than in the first half.
With less than nine minutes left until halftime, La Plata was awarded a penalty kick after Chopticon prevented a goal-scoring opportunity when Ricky DeLeon was fouled. Chopticon’s Matt Sciarra was given a red card and it forced the Braves to play a man down for the remainder of the contest.
Senior Wesley Guntow then kicked it to the left side of the goal, but Dixon timed the shot and covered the ball up for the save.
“That was huge for us, those are the hardest ones to save. I just had to guess and it worked,” Dixon said.
With so much attention on Braves senior sweeper Sean Bucior, the team’s leading scorer, from the La Plata defense, opportunities for other players eventually opened up.
The La Plata defense, which was very strong the whole game up until that lone goal, had two or three people marked on Bucior at times.
“I had a couple of guys on me every play,” said Bucior, who has 11 goals this season. “Gabe really came through for us; he volleyed a beautiful shot and struck it at the back net. That shot was just unreal. Doug kept the team on his back and saved a lot of shots for us. We lost 11 seniors from last season, but I think if we keep playing hard, we can go deep in the [Class 3A South Region] playoffs.”
“La Plata’s defense put a lot of pressure on Sean, but our midfield stepped up and played very well,” Peska said. “It was a collective effort from the team and the defense really saved some shots for us that could have went.”
“[Sean] is a great player and a lot of teams are going to key on him,” Gorayeb said. “It was good that everybody stepped up and contributed. This was a very good win for us.”
La Plata had numerous chances to score, but could not convert on its scoring opportunities. In the final five minutes of the game, sophomore Dominic Butler missed on a header on a pass from Guntow.
Butler said that in the next couple of practices that they are going to work on shooting.
“The thing that is frustrating is that we are executing but we aren’t finishing,” Butler said. “We have to find the back of the net. Chopticon never stop fighting, they were a man down for the last 60 minutes of the game. They took advantage of their opportunity when they got it and we didn’t.”