Langley junior Justin Galiani tore his posterior cruciate ligament during basketball season and spent the ensuing months rehabbing, impatiently waiting to take over the role on the soccer team for which he had been groomed the past two seasons: Go-to goal scorer.
Since returning to the lineup at full strength, Galiani has scored in every Langley game, and he punctuated his importance with a hat trick in the No. 4 Saxons’ 4-2 win over Lake Braddock on Wednesday night in a rematch of last season’s Virginia AAA Northern Region title game.
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Galiani, who left the field with 25 minutes left in the game to go to the hospital for stitches due to a cut on his head, was sixth on the team in goals as a freshman and tied for third with seven as a sophomore. After Wednesday night’s performance in Burke, the forward now leads the Saxons (7-1) with eight goals, four more than any other player despite being fully fit for just four games.
Langley Coach Bo Amato said he expected Galiani to be a 20-goal producer entering this season, and perhaps challenge for the school’s career goal scorer’s mark.
“He’s a humble kid, he’s not arrogant,” midfielder Oliver De Thier said. “But I think he knows his role on the team and knows once [All-Met forward] Dylan [Price] left he would have to take those reins and contribute even more. … You can see how clutch he is. He can score for sure.”
Galiani’s first goal was delivered as a gift in the 19th minute by a sweetly chipped through ball from De Thier that fell off Galiani’s backside and onto his right foot. He promptly curled a ball to the far post to give Langley a 2-1 lead.
Galiani doubled his output just 16 minutes later when he bodied off a defender on a long diagonal ball and again sought out the far post, only this time keeping his shot on the ground. He capped the performance in the 51st minute with a one-touch finish on the end of a nicely driven cross from Sepehr Harandi, who had opened the scoring for Langley in the first half, as Langley secured its fifth straight win – and perhaps some semblance of revenge for last season’s title game loss.
“Definitely if we [look] back to that game [against Lake Braddock] at Madison, it feels good,” De Thier said.
Jon Beck scored for Lake Braddock (2-5-1); the Bruins’ other score was an own goal.