GREENWICH — The members of the Greenwich boys soccer team, off to a 6-0 start following today’s 4-0 home win against Brien McMahon, are having a fun time with everyone that didn’t have them listed as a preseason favorite.
The Cardinals have only themselves to blame: they were the first to point out that close to 30 seniors graduated from the program.
If the goal was to be targeted by rather than sneak up on the FCIAC, mission accomplished.
“I think the program is obviously deep and that obviously is a bonus,” Greenwich coach Kurt Putnam said. “The team is just working real hard. We needed some games under our belt to get used to playing basically as a brand new team. And get games so we can just start playing and understand the speed of the game and the physicality of it. They are all doing their jobs. It is a little bit of a collective.”
The Cardinals have yet to concede a goal. The skeptics will point out that none of the teams they have defeated are currently above .500. But watching them play, it is obvious from the skill level the Cardinals are no fluke, but the product of a program that consistently produces technical players.
“Everyone has been doing their jobs and everyone is focused,” said Joao Lima, the tempo-setting sophomore midfielder who is one of three returning starters. “Like this win. Everyone worked hard.”
Against the Senators (1-2-2), who had averaged three goals a game and overcame a 4-0 halftime deficit to tie Stamford, the Cardinals did their scoring in two quick bursts.
Matias Lew scored in the 5th and 6th minutes, first capitalizing on a misplay by the goalkeeper and then finishing a pass from Farid Ghaliya.
“What is killing us is the keepers,” said McMahon coach Rodrigo Guzman. “That first goal was too soon. We’ve got to make sure we secure it. When we start down 1-0 at the beginning of the game we’re catching up. When you do it against a team like that it’s going to be really hard to catch up.”
The Senators regrouped and played Greenwich on equal terms in the second half. If not for several spectacular saves by Cardinals goalkeeper Padraig Colligan and some unlucky strikes off the crossbar, including a try on a bicycle kick by Yerson Villalobos, the final minutes might have played out differently.
Greenwich went ahead 3-0 in the 75th minute on a set piece started by Josh Frumin and finished by Davi Pedreiro, and Lima completed the scoring two minutes later on a perfectly placed set piece into the left side.
In the first half I thought we were the better team,” Putnam said. “We went up early and we didn’t really push up and capitalize with the offensive possession and the chances that we did create. You knew they would write it off and come back at us and that’s exactly what they did. He’s got something definitely to work with over there if they play like they did in the second half. Any other day it easily could have been 2-2. They gave us a real good game in the second half.”
Lima said the Cardinals’ poise after halftime was indicative that they will not be betrayed by inexperience.
“They pressured us a lot in the second half but I think we maintained our composure and we worked very well as a team,” Lima said. “Davi’s free kick was beautiful and I was lucky enough to score on my free kick at the end. It was an awesome game.”