Guerrero's Dramatic Goal Preserves Draw for Masters
It was arguably the most dramatic and improbable finish to a match that one could dream up. And it played out in The Masters School boys varsity soccer team's opening tilt of the 2023 season against visiting Léman Manhattan.
Trailing 1-0 late in regulation, goalie Gabe Guerrero ’24 lined up behind a free kick just outside Léman's box. He then proceeded to blast a low shot that skipped into the net. The incredible finish set off a wild celebration and secured a 1-1 draw for the Panthers on Saturday, September 9 at Greene Family Field.
"I saw everyone on the sidelines disappointed and mad, but we could not lose our first game," Guerrero said. "There were three seconds left in the game and this free kick was our only hope. I set the ball up like I've done at training and I locked in."
A thought from head coach Ray Franklin reverberated through Guerrero's mind as he awaited the kick: "This is our fortress and we don't lose here."
It then came down to technique and confidence.
"I aimed low and I ripped the shot to the bottom right corner — right under the wall," Guerrero said. "It went in and the team got super hyped and I celebrated like I never have before."
Guerrero had also never accomplished the feat — scoring a goal off a free kick while playing goalie — before, so it was undoubtedly a moment worthy of a massive celebration.
Guerrero, who previously played as a defender during his tenure at Masters, moved back to his natural position in net for his senior year.
"I played defense primarily to try something new and have fun with high school sports," Guerrero said. "I switched this year because I wanted to play my real position and lead the team from the back."
And now he will look to lead the Panthers to a championship-filled 2023 campaign.
"Some other expectations [outside of championships] that I have for my team are generally just hard work, love for the team and sport, and commitment and having fun this entire season," Guerrero said. "I love leading this team more than anything and we will leave everything on the field."