Riverhead’s goal drought is over, as is its four-game losing streak.
Overcoming 1-0 and 3-1 deficits to visiting Sachem North, Riverhead used second-half goals by Tawayne Hinds and Lesther Rivera to secure a 3-3 draw after 100 minutes of soccer Friday at Pulaski Sports Complex.
Rivera’s goal off a Cris Arias corner kick with 18 minutes, 39 seconds left in the second half ultimately forced the two additional 10-minute overtime periods.
The Suffolk County League II game had a bit of everything — yellow cards (seven, five to the Sachem North side), plenty of shots (22 by each team), big saves, injury stoppages, continual action, a fan ejection and, of course, a healthy dose of goals.
Riverhead (2-7-1, 0-4-1) entered the game having not scored a goal in over four hours of soccer. That scoreless streak came to an end when Arias, a sophomore who is said to have drawn the interest of some Major League Soccer clubs, notched his team-leading fifth goal of the season at 22:55, evening the score at 1-1. Arias, playing forward, spun after receiving a pass in midfield from Leo Chinchilla and bolted 40 yards before applying a right-footed finish past goalkeeper Chris Lally (eight saves).
Sachem North (3-4-3, 1-2-2) had struck first through Brayden Verbanac’s lethal left foot at 9:04. That goal came off the first of two assists by Nicholas Rojas.
The Flaming Arrows went in front again, 2-1, when Zach DeMilt pounded home a flick by Rojas.
Before the first half ended, Sachem North extended its lead to 3-1. Riverhead’s defense couldn’t get a foot on Verbanac’s cutting through ball from the right side to the left, but Evan Kozak did.
Riverhead pulled itself back in the game in the second half. Arias drew a foul and his 30-yard free kick was deflected, allowing Hinds the opportunity to strike at 50:13.
Riverhead goalkeeper Gerardo Tespan played a tremendous game. Among the senior’s nine saves were some gems. Verbanac had a clear shot at goal in the first half, only to see Tespan block it with a foot save. In the second half, Tespan once again denied Verbanac on a point-blank attempt and took a boot in the face for it. Less than two minutes into the first overtime, Tespan made a spectacular parry of a Kozak shot.