TRUMBULL — Soccer draws are often a dissatisfying result, but it was a testament to the respect the Staples and Trumbull boys programs have for one another that the words coming from their coaches after a 2-2 draw tonight were as even as the outcome.
The Wreckers dominated time of possession and had the greater number of chances, but had to come back from an early 2-0 deficit.
Asked if there was a part of him disappointed with not getting what would have been a major road win, Staples coach Dan Woog said, “Sure, but Trumbull has had our number for years and getting one point against them is an accomplishment.”
The Eagles’ Sil Vitiello similarly was not entirely fulfilled after giving up the lead.
“You have to remember who is on the other side,” Vitiello said. “They set the standard. You never walk away from a tie with Staples feeling unsatisfied.”
The Wreckers have not beaten Trumbull during the regular season in at least 13 years, according to records on the CIAC website. There have been five ties. The Eagles had won three of the last four meetings by 1-0 margins.
The Wreckers (3-1-1) found themselves down by two goals in the 14th minute, though they had the better of play, which would continue throughout the game.
Both scores were due in part to confusion in the Staples backfield. Matt Bagley put the Eagles ahead in the sixth minute and Tiago Frazao added to the lead on a pretty header.
“Were we worried when it was 2-0? We were concerned,” Woog said. “After we got that one back we said we knew we could compete and that’s what we did.”
The comeback started in the 30th minute on a goal by Patricio Perez Elorza. The best finish of the night came in the 53rd minute by Evan Birns, a forward who became the latest in a line of former academy players that have found happiness impacting the Wreckers. Birns settled a ball and freed himself with a move to the right, then scored into an empty goal.
“He’s a former academy player, having fun, with a smile on his face, he lifts us up,” Woog said. “He loves being with the team, the team loves him. That was just a really, really nice finish. I wouldn’t call it clinical but very composed.”
Staples continued to control the ball, though Trumbull (1-1-2) was able to create a few opportunities in the final minutes but could not finish.
The best chance was a late shot by the Wreckers’ Murilo Moreno that rolled just wide of the left post.
“In the first half they exploited a weakness in the system that we were playing so we had to make an adjustment to deal with it, and we dealt with it much better in the second half,” Vitiello said. “Their strength is really attacking up the flank and getting balls to their two forwards. And they are very effective at it. Then they get numbers in the box and they’re hard to defend. At halftime we made the adjustment and we handled that part very well.”
This year’s edition of the Wreckers are skilled and play a wide open attack that is as much fun to watch as it is to perform.
“They’re quick, they’ve got some skill, they’re fun and they’re funny,” Woog said. “We love these guys.”
The Wreckers are also doing a fine job navigating a difficult early schedule.
The Eagles are targeted as the defending champions and are still dealing with the emotional fallout from the offseason death of their popular coach, Sebe Gangemi.
Vitiello, a long-time assistant, was always like a second coach and Trumbull has been fortunate the transition has been as seamless as possible.
“We gave up the lead,” Vitiello said. “But the tie was a good result.”