Raiders boys soccer push unbeaten Greyhounds to limit in 1-0 loss.
TORRINGTON: If you are a fan of tremendous, high intensity full contact high school soccer, this was a match you wanted to see.
Two top teams, one unbeaten but tied twice, the other playing their best soccer at exactly the right time.
Naugatuck and Torrington. Greyhounds and Raiders. Good old fashioned rivalry soccer played at a very high level.
Too bad one team lost because each deserved a “W” for leaving it all on the pitch, for playing with the kind of inspiration that makes them two of the elite teams in the area.
On this night, it was the Greyhounds who came out on top by a 1-0 final off a brilliantly placed goal by Gabriel Carrelo not 11 minutes into the match off an assist by Thomas Martin.
Carrelo took a back pass from Martin and launched a left footed bullet that was about impossible to defend.
The home standing Raiders might title this story, “Just Missed” because on many an occasion on this warm fall night under a rising moon, that’s just what happened.
Raider standout Naseem Thompson could not have done more to put himself in position to score on Monday night, often times taking on what seemed like the entire Naugatuck team in his attempts to find the back of the net.
Shot after shot (seven in all for Thompson) sailed just high or just wide or off the cross bar with authority on this night.
It was however, some kind of fun to watch if you are a fan of soccer.
Each team utilized the turf field at Torrington High School to perfection, finding feet as opposed to kicking and chasing.
Naugatuck came in 9-0-2, having given up just two goals to this point with a stubborn defense that ends with junior goalie Aren Seeger who goes in the area of 6’3’ or so. A tough target to get by but a keeper who was tested by Thompson throughout the game.
The Raiders had been and continued to play their best soccer of the season at just the right time. The loss on Monday takes none of that away and in the big picture, didn’t win or lose anything close to a league title. That will be determined in the upcoming Naugatuck Valley League Tournament and the Raiders head coach is happy with where his team is at the moment.
“Everything is about us being ready for next Saturday,” Mike Fritch Jr. said. “We didn’t lose the NVL Championship today and they didn’t win the NVL Championship today. It’s all about getting ready for the tournament. I’ll take these kind of games every day of the week.”
This one had everything you could want in a soccer game. Great defense, intense, physical battles for every loose ball and just enough gritty contact from both sides to keep your attention.
You want good goalie play? You got it from both sides.
Seeger has the ability to send his goal kicks nearly 70-yards or direct a long ball low and accurately.
Wassik is becoming a top notch net minder himself with anticipatory skills that only come from working at ones craft, which he has this year.
The Greyhounds nearly scored in the first minute of play when Wassik (eight saves) came out to challenge a ball that instead was crossed towards the net but was alertly headed out of danger by Brandon Stater on a goal saving play.
Watching a dynamic player like Thompson, who explodes from a standstill to warp speed in moments when he senses an opening or opportunity is very special.
Moments after the Greyhounds connected on the games only tally, Thompson found his way into the box for a dead on shot that Seeger was able to pull in.
10 minutes later, the junior forward unleashed one of many bullets that just missed their mark wide or just over the top.
Late in the first half, the Raiders built a run that ended with a nifty pass to Jimmy Friscia who just missed wide right, the story of the night for the Raiders but playing at this level cannot be anything but great for both teams.
They will need it come the post season, which is coming fast.
“We will build from this loss,” Thompson said. “We’ll get ready for the NVL Championships and hopefully we see them (Naugy) again.”
Let’s hope we can see this kind of soccer every time out. It’s that much fun to watch.