Two goals were scored during the first five minutes of action of Tuesday’s FCIAC boys soccer matchup between rivals Greenwich and Norwalk, then only one more was tallied the final 75 minutes.
Unfortunately for the Cardinals, the Bears got the game’s third and deciding goal.
Senior Keyan Arguedas scored directly off a corner kick, giving Norwalk a 2-1 victory over Greenwich at Cardinal Stadium. With the score tied at 1-1, the Bears were awarded a corner kick and proceeded to tally the go-ahead goal in the 41st minute.
Arguedas’ high, arcing corner kick from the right side settled inside the left post, giving Norwalk a 2-1 lead the first minute of the second half. On Arguedas’ game-winning goal, he lofted his corner kick across the box past numerous players and over the head of Cardinals goalie Julian Colin, making it 2-1.
“Honestly, I meant to put that to the top of the six and hoped that someone would put their head to it, but I got lucky and it hit the back post and went in,” said Arguedas, a senior, who helped spark the Bears offensively throughout. “It felt amazing to score a good goal against a very good team and I felt shocked.”
The Cardinals, who played the Bears for the first time since the teams played to a scoreless draw in the 2019 season, had numerous scoring chances, but Norwalk senior Jake Godwin stood tall in goal, making more than 10 saves. Still, Greenwich left the matchup feeling it didn’t play its type of game.
“It was really scrappy in the midfield, it was very tough,” said Greenwich senior defender Andrew Lowitt, one of the squad’s captains. “It was frustrating, we couldn’t get the ball on the ground. We need to be better on the second balls and in the air. They were winning nearly every header. When we get the ball down and play, I don’t think anyone can stop us. But they didn’t let us play our game and we didn’t get the ball down.”
The Bears and Cardinals both entered the matchup with 2-0-1 records and were tied atop the FCIAC West Standings with seven points. Norwalk improved to 3-0-1, while adding three more points to its ledger with the triumph.
“It was a tough matchup,” said Greenwich junior midfielder Lucas Luzuriaga, who turned in a strong performance. “They were really good and we were struggling a bit and we couldn’t finish. We had a lot of crosses and a lot of through balls, but we just couldn’t get the ball in the back of the net. We face another great team this Friday (Fairfield Warde) and this shows us that all teams are going to be tough and we have got to be ready to face them.”
The Bears struck first, tallying in the game’s second minute. After clearing a Cardinals corner kick, Norwalk moved the ball down the left side of the field. Junior Dylan Thomas’ shot from approximately 15 yards out bounded off the hands of Colin and senior Connor Bleakley, who found himself alone in front of the net, tapped in the rebound inside the right post, giving Norwalk a 1-0 edge.
“I think scoring first for us was huge, because it made us believe that we are just as good as them and we could win the game,” said Norwalk senior co-captain Diego Ramirez, who also helped pace the victors. “It’s a very important win for the boys. Coming into Greenwich, which is ranked No. 1, we knew we had to give them a good game at their place and we just fought for the game. We’re hoping to carry on the momentum the rest of the season.”
Greenwich (2-1-1), responded quickly, thanks to senior midfielder Max Acosta. Dribbling the ball past a defender, Acosta, who got a pass from senior Alejandro Rodriguez, battled his way into the box and tucked his close-range shot into the left corner, evening the score at 1-1 in the fifth minute.
“It was tight over there on the left side of the field,” Acosta said. “I was able to find my way ahead and I had a guy behind me, but I fought through and was able to pull the shot. I had to really hustle to get the shot off, but I was able to.”
Norwalk nearly padded its lead in the 60th minute, but Colin (eight saves) made a nifty save off a shot from close in off a breakaway by junior Dylan Thomas, who along with senior Mateo Cano, registered the majority of the Bears’ shots. Lowitt, Santiago Borrero and Jake Hugh-Jones, all senior captains, paced Greenwich’s solid defensive effort, while Ramirez, Thomas and Matt Martinez stepped up in the midfield for the Bears.
“We started the game and we started the second half well,” Norwalk coach Chris Laughton said. “We got two early goals. Greenwich is a great team, they showed that by scoring three or four minutes after our first goal. I’m just proud of our boys for really locking down the second half and tightening things up defensively.”
Greenwich will look to get back on the winning track when it visits Warde on Friday.
“This loss is definitely a motivating factor,” Acosta said. “It shows what needs to be done, what needs to be done for us to improve. We had our chances, but at the end of the day, we just came up short.”
Said Lowitt: “The goals came from mistakes. They scored from a corner, which is really unlucky and the first goal we didn’t make our tackles. You always need to lose to understand how if feels. Now, we have 10, 12 more games to come back and win them all.”