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Touros’ Giants Stadium game proves memorable

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Peter Touros stood at the penalty spot, staring at St. Benedict’s (N.J.) Prep goalkeeper Brandon Paul. With a light rain falling and Giants Stadium at a hush, the Long Island City standout thought about his father, Andreas, and the advice he often gives.

“My father told me, always put it in the same corner and you’ll be fine,” Touros said. “That’s what I did.”

Touros struck for the winning penalty kick to lead the New York/Connecticut team over the New Jersey/Pennsylvania squad Saturday night in the second-annual Red Bulls High School Cup at Giants Stadium.

The two teams played to a 1-1 draw over 70 minutes of regulation, while New York/Connecticut prevailed 3-2 on penalty kicks.

“It was great memories,” said Touros, who will play at Stony Brook University in the fall. “This is something major in my life. I’m going to take this forever and tell it to my kids. It’s an amazing thing that Red Bulls put together. It was great.”

Touros was one of 16 players selected for the New York/Connecticut squad, and just one of two from the city. He was joined by Virginia-bound Akheel Rodney, a former Elmont, L.I., star forward who recently moved across the border to Rosedale.

“It was a great experience to come out and play against people from around our area and to come out and play in Giants Stadium,” said Rodney, who has played for the United States Under-20 National Team. “We have a little bragging rights, so that’s definitely good.”

Touros, who played club ball with his father’s Kosmos team and the New York Red Bulls U-17/18 squad, said he loved every part of the all-star weekend. On Friday, the team trained at Giants Stadium and met the New York Red Bulls players and coaches.

They were recognized at halftime of the Major League Soccer game between the Red Bulls and Seattle Sounders FC and then took the field afterward.

“It was crazy because we were eating dinner with the professionals last night and then they came out on the field and they were talking to us like they were our friends,” Touros said. “[Red Bulls midfielder] Dane Richards came up to me and told me to do it, do it for New York. That’s what I did.”

Touros said the reality of playing under the lights at Giants Stadium hit him as he was preparing to enter the field.

“I came through the tunnel and thought this is for real, we’re playing in Giants Stadium now, we’re playing for our state to bring the Cup home,” Touros said. “We came in and won, so it felt really good.”

The game was a spirited affair, an entertaining match with hard tackles and individual brilliance. While there was nothing more than bragging rights on the line, both teams took the game seriously.

“We were going almost 100 percent to every ball because we want to win,” Touros said. “We’re not playing in Giants Stadium every day and we don’t want to lose. We want to go and get something positive out of it.”

Thanks to some fatherly advice, Touros did just that.

Posted 6:35 pm, October 10, 2011
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