Vaca to the rescue. Raiders on to the NVL semi's after 2-1 overtime win over Holy Cross.
WATERBURY: We’ve said it enough but it needs to be said again anyway.
Kevin Vaca is one special soccer player and the Torrington boys’ soccer team is moving on to the semi-finals of the Naugatuck Valley League Tournament on Monday because of him.
Vaca scored with 1:34 left in the second overtime on a magnificent goal that he flipped over Holy Cross goalie Luca DiCarlo to give the Raiders a 2-1 win and a date with Seymour on Monday night at 5:30 p.m. at Municipal Stadium.
The winning goal was a solo effort, as many of the talented senior midfielders are, he has the ability to create something spectacular any time he touches the ball and did again right before the teams where going to have to head into penalty kicks to solve this one.
It started off a clear attempt by the Crusaders that Vaca picked off at about the 35-yard line with his knee which he used to ease the ball ahead to himself.
After a fast run down the left side, Vaca had a choice; take it himself or try and make it happen with a teammate.
“At first I was going to cross it,” Vaca said, “But I saw the keeper come out towards me so I decided to stay with it and I just chipped it over his head.”
The ball nestled neatly into the right side of the net and with just over 90-seconds to go, Torrington had done just enough to escape with the win even though they had dominated play early in the game with nothing to show for it.
DiCarlo was the star of the game for the Crusaders, who are playing like a team nobody will want to play in the Class L states.
The Raiders had taken care of Cross by a 3-0 score a week ago on this very field but looked like a different squad seven days later.
“We may have taken them a little for granted tonight,” Torrington head coach Mike Fritch Jr. said, “We talked at the half about how they were hanging around even though we had the chances in the first half.”
Midfielder Alex Church nearly got the Raiders on the board a minute in when he blasted a shot off the cross bar from 30-yards out.
That effort was followed by a close call off the foot of Amar Suljic four minutes later that just went wide of the target.
Each time you see Vaca play, he shows you a little of everything.
The foot speed, the control, the moves and oh yeah, a bomb of a shot from either foot.
Vaca took a ball off a corner kick with 32 minutes left in the half that he one touched just over the goal with impressive force.
He’s not the biggest kid but he’s got a massive foot.
The Crusaders did not get their first shot on Torrington keeper Nathan Manchester until the 22 minute mark and it was and easy save.
At the half, neither team had been able to break thru but you had a feeling something was building, on both sides.
Torrington kept the pressure up as the second half started and got on the board first when, who else, Vaca, took a throw in from Joe Fillipini that he one-touched into the same right side he would put the game winner in some 55 minutes later.
Cross was certainly not done at this point though, their game was starting to click and with just 2:46 left in regulation, Taj Fullerton found a bouncing ball in the box and deposited it just out of reach of Manchester.
In the first overtime, the Crusaders were the attackers, nearly connecting 90-seconds but Manchester was up to the task.
The second overtime would end up being Vaca time, like so many games have this season.
At the start of this campaign, Fritch had said he needed more from his senior midfielder and to date, the young man with not a lot to say, said a lot with his feet and the Raiders are one step closer to a shot at the NVL title because of it.