WESTPORT — Danbury boys soccer coach Anthony Howard would like to take credit for the tactical change that allowed his Hatters to post a 2-1 season-opening win over host Staples today.
The credit, however, belonged to senior forward Cris Carrasco.
It was the player’s suggestion to move to the other wing, an idea Howard signed off on, allowing Carrasco to score a pair of second-half goals for Danbury.
“I’d like to say it was my idea,” Howard said. “It was an idea that went really well. I have no problems if the two wings want to switch sides as long as both players are happy with it.”
After a scoreless first half in which Staples controlled play and the left-footed Carrasco couldn’t quite get his offense to flow from the right side, the player suggested the switch at intermission.
“I felt lost out there so I told my coach to put me on the other side,” Carrasco said. “He said it was OK and it worked out for us today.”
It was midway through the second half when Carrasco gathered in a ball and took his first shot of the game.
“I tried to do a nice finish, but I couldn’t because the keeper was coming out,” Carrasco said. “I was just able to get enough foot on it before he got there and it was a little loop shot.”
With 2:44 to play, Carrasco took advantage of a nice through ball feed and went far post with a low shot to give Danbury a 2-0 lead.
“They just shifted that one guy over and he finished his chances,” Staples coach Dan Woog said. “He finished them well. He made it happen.”
Staples got on the board with 1:35 to play when Reese Watkins scored, but the Wreckers were unable to come up with an attempt at the equalizer.
The Wreckers had controlled play for much of the first half, putting together a handful of solid scoring chances against the Hatters’ defense.
“I think we had them on the run in the first half and we let them back in the game,” Woog said. “We just didn’t finish our chances and it was 0-0 at halftime.”
Danbury goalkeeper Matt Silva made five of his seven saves in the first 40 minutes, including perhaps his best save, just two minutes into the game.
George Smith took a cross in the middle and fired a shot on goal, but Silva came across to get in position to make the save and keep the Wreckers off the board.
He later made a nifty save on a Sam Liles attempt.
“They definitely had the better of the first half,” Howard said. “He’s a great goalkeeper. Without him, it’s probably a different story.”
Silva threw credit to his defense, which included twin brothers Tyler and Taylor Le, Anthony Raymundo and Ian Linsley.
“When coach talks to us at halftime, we know what we’re supposed to do and we go out there and do it,” Silva said. “I have confidence in my guys.”
The two teams will get together on Monday for a rematch, this time at Danbury. Game time is 4:30 p.m.