Published on October 12th, 2020 | by Staples Soccer0
Match Report: Staples vs. Wilton
This year’s COVID-created back-to-back, home-and-away, small-pod soccer schedule has been intriguing and exciting.
Throughout the FCIAC, teams that lost the first game have rebounded to win or tie the rematch. Staples did it in their first series, bouncing back from an opening season 2-1 defeat to Danbury to draw 1-1 with the Hatters.
But today’s second encounter with Wilton would be more difficult. Five days ago in Wilton, the Warriors spanked the Wreckers 4-0.
Staples made a few lineup tweaks for today’s clash on the Wakeman turf (moved because of rain from Loeffer Field). Graham Barnes made his first varsity start, at midfield. George Smith moved to the right. Haydn Siroka started up top. And Bruno Guiduli — recovered from a long injury, and moved up from the reserves — also debuted as a starter, at center back. Enzo Valadares continued in goal.
The combinations clicked. The Wreckers played more quickly, and more to feet, than they had all year. They let the ball do much of the work, and used the width of the field well.
In the 22nd minute, center back Surya Balaji sliced a seeing-eye ball through the defense. Alan Fiore took a few touches, cut inside, and finished calmly for a crisp 1-0 lead.
Siroka, Barnes and Zach Pulichino worked several good triangles. Jack Douglas did the dirty work behind them. Staples pressed forward, and in the 28th minute Fiore almost netted a second goal.
Defensively, the back four — Balaji, Guiduli, Jackson Hochhauser and Jack Foster — kept Wilton well at bay. They shifted, supported and doubled well. Hochhauser had the unenviable task of marking Nathan Bennett — perhaps the best player in the FCIAC, with skill, moves and speed — but he did it with composure and intelligence.
The guests played dangerous balls over the top, and had plenty of team and individual speed. Valadares was tested in the 36th minute, and came up big.
Three minutes later, Staples had another excellent chance, off Reese Watkins’ run.
Thirteen minutes into the second half, Valadares made 3 successive stops. But Wilton earned a corner kick. The ball was not cleared, and a scuffed shot evened the score.
The match seesawed over the final 27 minutes. The Westporters kept their poise. They continued to switch fields, send teammates into the corners, step up alertly to intercept, and create chances. With just 2 minutes to go, Fiore’s shot soared just high.
For the second straight time, the Wreckers rebounded from a defeat, with a draw. Today’s match was a vast improvement over last Wednesday’s.
But in this very different season, they still seek their first win. The next opportunity comes Wednesday, at Ridgefield. Kickoff is 4:30 p.m.; click here for the livestream. FINAL SCORE: Staples 1, Wilton 1. SEASON RECORD: 0-2-2.
QUICK KICKS: The varsity, reserve and freshman teams raised $5,765 at yesterday’s Alzheimer’s walk. Over 100 programs participated, in all sports at all 16 FCIAC schools — and the Wreckers’ total is tops among all of them….
Coach Reilly Lynch’s reserves looked strong in Saturday’s 4-1 win at Brien McMahon. Matt Jordan had 2 excellent goals, including a solo rip and a strike assisted by Aidan Mermagen. The co-captain then notched his 2nd assist, feeding David Sedrak. Mermagen’s 3rd assist came when Sam Vannart knocked in his rebound….
The freshmen were also sharp, downing McMahon 2-0. Avery Mueller blasted in the first goal; then his nifty move opened up Luca Escalarte for a slot.