Despite dominating most of action, Raiders fall to unbeaten Watertown by a 2-0 final.
TORRINGTON: Eight games into their 2018 campaign, the Torrington boys’ soccer team found their “A” game against the current leaders in the Naugatuck Valley League, the Watertown Indians whom the dominated over the first 45 minutes on Friday night.
The homestanding Raiders were doing what their head coach, Mike Fritch Jr. wanted, they were dominating the midfield while utilizing a terrific offsides trap to catch the over the top prone Indians five times over the first 20-minutes of the game.
The Indians (7-0-1) though, took advantage of two chances in the second half and capitalized for a 2-0 win over Torrington, evening the Raiders record at 4-4.
It was a moment game for the young Raiders though, one that should lead to bigger and better things if they can maintain the kind of intensity and fire they exhibited the entire half when they owned play over most of the pitch.
Soccer is a funny game of inches most days and in the first half, Torrington missed having a 2-0 lead by perhaps a total of 12-inches on balls that clanged off the post not once but twice in the first half.
“If we make those shots,” Fritch Jr. said. “We’re up 2-0 before they even get on the scoreboard, a completely different game. The converted on their chances and we didn’t.”
Both near goals came off the foot of junior Janos Herczeg who has been improving every game since the season started and is becoming a threat every time he gets the ball near the opponents box.
Torrington nearly broke onto the scoreboard with 34:10 left in the opening half when Herczeg wound up and unleashed a shot that hit the top cross bar dead in the middle but bounced straight down, allowing the ball to be cleared.
The next near miss would bang off the left post less than two minutes into the second half, again off of a terrific shot by Herzceg and you could feel the angst on the Raiders sidelines as they hoped the misses would not come back to haunt them.
After 40-plus minutes, the home team had more than held their own against a fast and tall Watertown team that was a step behind on most 50-50 balls to that point.
The Indians would score the games first goal less than four minutes later when Jake Champagne placed a terrific cross to the feet of teammate Troy Tedesco who found the back of the net for a 1-0 lead.
The goal seemed to delate the Raiders some, after all, they had dominated so much of the action to that point against the top team in the NVL but had nothing to show for it.
Six minutes later, after a free kick for Torrington near the Indians goal was cleared to a nearly on his own Champagne who beat on Torrington defender before slipping it by Raider goalie Kevin Hidrovo for a 2-0 lead.
If the Raiders play at this level every game, they will win more than their share of matches, they just need keep working hard, game in and game out.
A lot went right on Friday night, regardless of what the scoreboard read at the end of the game.
Torrington senior Brett Stater was happy with his team’s effort.
“We moved the ball well,” Stater said. “We’re in a new formation and we are communicating really well. We played well but we lost that game by inches with the two balls that hit the post.”
Soccer, the ultimate game of inches.