Boys soccer: Brandt's goal helps Ridgefield tie Wilton

In a cagey match that was not lacking in drama, the Ridgefield High boys soccer team managed to salvage a 2-2 draw against Wilton on Thursday afternoon at Tiger Hollow.

Down to 10 players following a red card, Ridgefield fell behind 2-1 in the second half before getting the tying goal from Tristan Brandt.

Early on, the majority of play was concentrated in midfield, with neither side able to maintain long, consequential stretches of possession, and few promising scoring chances created.

Wilton had a few dangerous shots that were handily snuffed out by Ridgefield keeper Ryan Sheafe, and the game eventually evolved into an end-to-end affair. Wilton's backline defused the Tigers' forwards, while the Warriors were similarly thwarted by the Ridgefield defense, with Nicholas Gasparo and Andrew Masciotti putting in high-quality efforts for the hosts.

A promising header from Ruben Mendoza was acrobatically parried away by Wilton goalkeeper Rishabh Raniwala, keeping the game scoreless. But Mendoza eventually found the back of the net, cooly slotting the ball past the keeper to put the Tigers ahead, 1-0.

The remainder of the half was characterized by numerous yet fruitless attempts by both teams. Raniwala saved multiple shots, while the Ridgefield defense extinguished attacking plays from the Warriors, preserving the Tigers' one-goal lead at halftime.

Wilton tied the game on an absolute screamer of a goal and then got a further boost when Masciotti was sent off for a red card midway through the second half. Ridgefield was then put under significant pressure, and the Warriors were able to score again and take a 2-1 lead.

The Tigers responded in style, though, as a Wilton defensive lapse allowed Brandt to get the ball and score the equalizer.

“It felt really great to score the goal,” said Brandt. “I mean, it fell in my lap, and I put it in, but it feels good.”