Greenwich’s Jose Ramirez moves the ball along the sideline during the Cardinals FCIAC quarterfinal vs. Danbury.
As a defender, scoring opportunities don’t present themselves too often for Greenwich High School senior Nick Carvalho, but he sure took advantage of the chance that came his way in today’s FCIAC Tournament quarterfinals against Danbury.
Carvalho’s corner kick goal lifted fourth-seeded Greenwich to a dramatic 2-1 overtime win over fifth-seeded Danbury in the quarterfinal-round of the FCIAC Tournament held at Cardinal Stadium.
With the hard-fought win, Greenwich (10-4-2) advanced to Tuesday’s FCIAC semifinals against top-seeded Trumbull (15-0). The undefeated Eagles topped eighth-seeded Brien McMahon in the conference tournament quarterfinals, 6-0, to advance to play the Cardinals.
The game-winning goal took place with only 45 seconds remaining in the 20-minute overtime session. Forcing a corner kick with a strong run toward the goal, Greenwich set up to execute the set piece with less than one minute remaining in overtime.
Senior forward Lucas Luzuriaga directed his arcing corner kick into the middle of the box and Carvalho rose up for a header, knocking it past Danbury junior goalie Noah Braz, inside the right post, giving Greenwich a 2-1 lead with 45 seconds left to play.
Nick Carvalho had the game-winning goal for Greenwich against Danbury.
The goal was the second of Carvalho’s varsity career.
“It feels amazing to be moving on to the semifinals,” said Carvalho, also one of the Cardinals’ senior captains. “That was my first in-game goal. The other one came on a penalty kick against Central, so it’s really cool that it came in a situation like that. I went to the middle of the box when Lucas put it in and I was able to score off a header.”
Ironically, the game-winner off the set piece was the first time-all season GHS scored directly off a corner kick.
“At first, I was seeing how much time was left on the clock and let it run down a little bit, then I sent the kick to the first post, where Nick would be expecting it,” said Luzuriaga, the team’s leading scorer and a tri-captain. “That was our first goal directly off a corner all season and I’m glad we scored it today.”
Lucas Luzuriaga of Greenwich looks to move the ball toward the game in an FCIAC tournament game vs. Danbury.
“It feels great to be going to the semifinals,” Luzuriaga continued. “We were saying, a few weeks ago, we didn’t know where we were going to end up and now, we’re top four in the FCIAC.”
The Cards took a 1-0 advantage in the 17th minute, on a goal by junior Maximo Ferrario, who scored off an impressive pass by junior forward Charles Fiore.
“This game was very similar to the first time we played Danbury this season,” Ferrario said. “The last time we played them, the game ended in a 1-1 tie. We scored first, then they tied the score, just like today. It was another game against them where we kept fighting and competing hard. It was a great win for our team.”
With the score tied at 1-1 in the second half, Greenwich applied some pressure on Danbury, with Luzuriaga, Ferrario and senior midfielder Jamie Smith leading the charge. Danbury nearly scored off a free kick in the 54th minute and GHS senior goalie Nico Figueroa made several saves in the second half off free kicks and shots from Marlan Orellana and Aidan Roxo.
Greenwich edged Danbury, 2-1, in FCIAC Tournament action at Cardinal Stadium.
“I thought Danbury edged us the first 25-30 minutes of the second half,” Putnam said. “We defended well and dug in deep to grind out a gutsy win.”
Figueroa made nine saves for Greenwich, which last won the FCIAC title in 2017 when they beat Trumbull for the championship. The teams shared the title in 2016. On Sept. 22, the Cardinals dropped a 2-0 decision to Trumbull.
“We did a good job defensively,” Figueroa. “It was everyone – from our forwards pressing the ball, to our midfielders working hard to apply pressure to our centerbacks and fullbacks stopping the crosses. It’s a good win for us, now we want to ride this momentum into our next game.”
After defeating Danbury, Greenwich will play Trumbull in the FCIAC semifinals.