Rallying back from a one-goal halftime deficit, Greenwich’s boys soccer team cleared their first hurdle in the CIAC Class LL Tournament.
Now the Cardinals will try to get past an obstacle in the form of top-seeded Trumbull in the second round.
No. 16 Greenwich edged 17th-seeded Farmington in the opening round of the Class LL Tournament, 2-1, on Monday in a game that was decided in penalty kicks.
The Cardinals (11-6-2) visit Trumbull (19-1) in today’s 2 p.m. Class LL Round of 16 (second round) matchup. The Eagles posted a 5-1 win over the Cardinals in last week’s FCIAC Tournament semifinals.
“What we’ve got to do is stay in the game, we can’t have a carbon copy of the FCIAC tournament,” Greenwich coach Kurt Putnam said. “We need to stay in the game for as long as possible.”
The FCIAC Tournament semifinals saw Trumbull jump out to a several-goal first-half lead on the Cardinals on its way to reaching the finals, which they won with victory against Darien.
“The first half of the FCIAC Tournament hurt us, but we came out and played a good second half,” said Putnam, whose Cardinals were defeated by Trumbull during the regular season, 2-0.
In Monday’s Class LL opening round matchup against Farmington at Cardinal Stadium, Greenwich faced a 1-0 halftime deficit.
“It was a really good game, we started out pretty fast,” Putnam said. “We almost scored in the first minute of the game, as Lucas (Luzuriaga) took a free kick in the first minute and we got on the rebound. The first half was pretty even. We created more chances and put their goalkeeper under some pressure with a lot of chances.”
Farmington took a 1-0 lead in Monday’s Class LL opener, scoring off a free kick from approximately 45 yards out.
“I got the boys in at halftime and told them that your play between the two boxes is great,” Putnam said. “I said, ‘you have 40 minutes of your season left and you have to find that extra energy and desire.’ We ended up getting the goal back.”
The Cardinals scored the equalizer against Farmington, courtesy of the Luzuriaga/Maximo Ferrario combination. Luzuriaga played the ball to Ferrario, who from the edge of the box deposited a shot into the far corner, evening the score at 1-1.
Following a back-and-forth overtime session, the state tournament game went to penalty kicks and Greenwich impressively took care of business to advance to the next round.
The Cards converted their first three penalty kicks, with Ferrario and junior Charlie Fiore making the first two kicks. While that occurred, Cardinals senior goalie Nico Figueroa made saves on Farmington’s first three penalty kicks, clinching Greenwich’s playoff win.
“When we went to penalty kicks, we said, ‘clear your head pick your spot and just hit it,'” Putnam said. “We pulled Nico (Figueroa) to the side and he said, ‘I got this,’ and he made three saves.”