Boys soccer: Tigers start year with two road setbacks
The 2019 season opened with a pair of road losses for the Ridgefield High boys soccer team.
After dropping a 2-0 decision to Greenwich last Friday, the Tigers fell to Stamford, 3-2, on Monday.
Ridgefield trailed 3-0 at halftime against Stamford but got goals from Ben Ragland and Fisher Mills with 15 and 10 minutes left, respectively. The Tigers couldn’t get the equalizer before time expired.
“We hit their post two times within five minutes,” said Ridgefield head coach Phil Bergen. “[Stamford] had one unbelievably fast kid upfront that we couldn’t deal with.”
In last week’s season opener, an effective defensive effort and a pair of clutch tallies helped Greenwich to the Tigers.
Farid Ghaliya and Joao Limo scored for the Cardinals, who took a 1-0 lead into halftime. Greenwich goalie Padraig Colligan made four saves for the shutout.
Senior goalie Ray Dearth made six saves for the Ridgefield, whose defensive effort was anchored by Will Baker and Chad Eskenazi.
“Unfortunately, we came out too nervous and that continued throughout most of the game,” Bergen said. “The last 10-15 minutes, we played well ... but unless we control the game, we are not going to be able to do much this season. Hopefully, we’ll come around and learn from this experience.”
Ghaliya scored the go-ahead goal near the penalty area in the 15th minute.
The score remained 1-0 until Lima converted a penalty kick in the 52nd minute, booting his shot past Dearth to give Greenwich a two-goal lead.
Ridgefield applied more pressure in the second half than it did in the opening half and came close to cutting Greenwich’s lead in half. Tim Vanni’s shot from 40 yards out almost found its mark, but Colligan stretched out for the save, deflecting the ball with his hands before controlling the rebound.
“For the most part, I’m quite happy, considering we’ve only had 10 days of practice with a team that has so many new players,” said Greenwich coach Kurt Putnam, whose Cardinals advanced to the Class LL state tournament quarterfinals last year. “I saw a lot of energy and, of course, it’s always nice to start the season with a win.”
Bergen is confident in his squad moving forward.
“We have to learn from this experience,” he said. “As the game went on, we won more 50/50s and that generated some confidence. History shows that every good FCIAC team will lose a few games a season.”