TRUMBULL — Do not let the score fool you.
Greenwich’s 0-0 tie against Trumbull Tuesday at McDougall Stadium was not your typical scoreless boys soccer game. This battle between two unbeaten teams had plenty of action and opportunities galore.
“There were an unusual number of scoring chances for both teams,” Trumbull coach Sebe Gangemi said. “It was back and forth, lots of chances, but neither team could convert. (The tie) is a fair result.”
This could have easily been a 3-2 kind of game but time after time a shot went just wide, or there was an offside or a questionable officiating call or non-call.
“They had chances, we had chances,” Greenwich coach Kurt Putnam said. “It was like two heavyweights going at it, but neither could find the knockout punch. It was a fair result.”
The tie kept both teams at or near the top of the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference standings, with Greenwich at 7-0-2 for 23 points and Trumbull 6-0-3 for 21 points. And while it did indeed seem to be a fair result in the end, each team went home thinking what might have been.
That was certainly the case for Trumbull midfielder Thang Dao.
“I’m not happy,” said Dao, who had the best chance of all to score in the 64th minute. “It’s a point so we’ll take it, but I thought I had a goal.”
Dao was about five yards in front of Greenwich goalkeeper James Johnson (five saves) when his header popped up in front of the goalie. Dao kept after it and headed it again and this time the ball went into the goal. But the referee ruled that Dao had made contact with Johnson during the play.
“It was a 50-50 ball and I saw it in the air,” Dao said. “It just went up and then went up again on the rebound. In all honesty, I thought I got the ball in and didn’t foul the goalie, but he called it a foul.”
“It was tough for me to see,” Gangemi said. “So I have to say it was a fair call. But that was the key play of the game.”
Greenwich had a near-goal of its own in the 35th minute. Sebastian Hernandez was chasing a ball as he entered the box and seemed to be pulled down by a Trumbull defender.
A penalty kick? Nope. No call.
“(The defender) lost the ball and I went after it (into the penalty box),” Hernandez said. “So then he pushed me and the ref didn’t do anything. It should’ve been a foul.”
Several minutes before Hernandez’s penalty kick that never was, the junior had another great scoring chance from in front of the goal but misfired.
And before that, each team seemingly scored a goal but the play was overturned on an offside call, both of which were accepted without argument by each team.
That brings us to the second half, when Trumbull, which was outshot 8-5, had the better of play. First Matt Restrepo had a direct kick from 22 yards out that went just wide right against Johnson with 30 minutes remaining in the second half. Eight minutes later Matheus Santiago had a great chance but his shot went wide left.
After Dao’s rebound header was nullified, Greenwich’s Federico Irigoyen broke in after receiving a crossing pass but his boot went wide right.
Each team had another good chance in the final five minutes but it seemed this game was destined to end in a tie, and that’s probably where it should’ve ended up.
“It was a case of two good teams that were not willing to give up anything,” Gangemi said.
“It was an intense game, and definitely the fastest pace we have played all season,” Putnam added. “I’m really not disappointed. Maybe we’ll play again (in the FCIAC playoffs).”
Trumbull goalkeeper Jonathan Campbell finished with eight saves.
NOTES: Greenwich’s only blemish was a 0-0 tie against Staples on Monday. Trumbull also tied Staples, 0-0, on Sept. 14 and played Fairfield Warde to a 3-3 draw on Sept. 20.