The FCIAC boys soccer season is at the one-third mark, and it is not surprising that thus far there have been few surprises. The league is as competitive as ever, with a few new players tossing their hats into the ring.
Danbury, the prohibitive league favorite, is undefeated at 6-0. The Hatters’ sturdy veteran defense has allowed just three goals, but there have been few blowouts. Four of their wins have come by a goal, a testament that they know how to gut out and close out games.
If you go by history — and with this side, you always should — Greenwich’s position atop the standings is as standard as a late October chill. The Cardinals are tied for first place at 6-0. It has been ages since they were not a title contender.
But with 28 graduated seniors, this was the first time in recent memory a season started with uncertainty. The pro-Cardinal crowd will point to how the team has not conceded a goal yet. The skeptics will note none of the wins have come against a team currently at or above .500. A good test comes tomorrow at Staples.
Close behind are two more unbeaten teams with a game at hand. Fairfield Warde and Wilton are both 4-0-1. Warde has a 1-0 win over Staples and figured to set up perch high in the standings.
The Warriors are the team that has thus far exceeded expectations in coach Edwin Carvajal’s first season. They have scored 17 goals but their best win is against a .500 Norwalk team that is likely better than its record.
Then comes a pack of teams that cannot be discounted. Staples is 3-2-1, with the losses coming by a goal to Danbury and Warde. This Wreckers team moves the ball quickly and is strong on the attack.
Bridgeport Central, at 3-3, thus far looks like a team that at the very least will be a dangerous spoiler and at best could battle for one of the final spots in the conference tournament.
Going down the line, Trumbull and Fairfield Ludlowe each have eight points. The Eagles are now coached by long-time assistant Sil Vitiello after the offseason death of Sebe Gangemi. The issue over the long-term is how fast it will take a lineup hit hard by graduation losses to mature.
The Falcons are an even 2-2-2, with results both encouraging and disappointing, not unusual for an inexperienced team looking to gain traction. They no doubt will be more dangerous as the season goes on.
Norwalk is 2-2-1. The losses have come to Staples and Wilton, but there is a draw with Warde.
That is nine teams for eight spots. And that is just going down the standings at this point. McMahon is 1-2-2, but the losses are to Greenwich and Danbury. The Senators overcame a 4-0 halftime deficit to tie Stamford, 4-4.
Darien is 1-3-2, but the win is over Trumbull and one of the ties against Wilton.
With a number of games between top teams this week, the standings may look different come Saturday night, but not the landscape. There will be a contested battle for the top four seeds and the eight playoff spots. And with one or two exceptions, there is no such thing as an easy game.