Growing up, Nico Gomez dreamed of playing on the grass of the Red Bull Arena while sitting in the stands with his family.
With a whim, Kearny’s junior proved that sometimes reality can surpass even the most ambitious childhood dreams.
The 5-foot-6 Gomez threw Alan Antonelli’s long free-kick just under the crossbar, 1:41 into overtime to give NJ.com Top 20 seed Kearny, a 2-1 victory over his rival. and third-seeded Harrison won the Hudson County tournament in front of a crowd of 4,300 at Red Bull Arena in Harrison.
Gomez’s goal gave Kearny (16-1-1) his sixth Hudson County title and his first since 2017. Harrison (15-3-1) was looking for his third championship and his first since 2013.
“It was like my dreams were coming true. You come to a professional stadium, you dream about it when you are a kid, ”said Gomez. “We’re right there (in Kearny), even less than a mile away. I came here almost every weekend as a kid to watch the Red Bulls play. Then I had these little opportunities with my club team to play on the field at halftime when I was little.
“Now in a real game I get the winning goal in overtime against our rival.”
Those dreams almost turned into a nightmare for him and his teammates late in the settlement. Harrison, who trailed for most of the night, tied the game at 1-1 with 8:34 left in the second half when, after consecutive shots on the crossbar, Eann Vieira scored on a rebound in front of the net.
Harrison had a chance to win the game when Diego Flores-Sanchez got a penalty with 3:34 left. But Kearny’s Joshua Rodriguez stopped the low shot with his left foot and smothered the ball without allowing a potential rebound.
Rodriguez made three saves for the Kardinals, who took a 1-0 lead over Dalton Davilla’s goal in the 25th minute. Emiliano Torres made four saves for Harrison, evidenced by two diving saves in the last minute of the first half to keep the game to one goal.
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