WILTON — They had the one goal they needed, the one that would hold up, but the Trumbull Eagles could’ve had four or five more in the first half Tuesday night at Wilton.
Warriors keeper Christopher Sweeney kept it a game, though the Eagles kept pressing to the wire in a 1-0 FCIAC boys soccer win on the road. Wilton had the odd chance, but it was Trumbull’s night, though not as much on the scoreboard as the shots might have indicated.
“We can’t really let missing shots get us down. We’ve got to keep working,” Trumbull co-captain Nicholas Moussavian said. “We’ve got to keep the ball.”
With Wilton (4-5-2, 4-5-2 FCIAC) pressing for offense and leaving only three men in the back in the last 10 minutes, Trumbull (8-3, 8-3) did just that, dominating possession and keeping the Warriors from getting close to Andrew Menjivar’s net.
“Their goalkeeper kept them in it,” Trumbull coach Sebastian Gangemi said. “Four or five times he made nice saves, and not just scrappy saves. He put himself in good position.”
Sweeney stopped Anthony Barreira off the left wing, then later again off a lead from Nicholaos Xenakis. He robbed Jason Weinstein off another Xenakis setup, and Matheus Santiago on a ball that almost skipped off his hands off the wet turf.
“Sweeney and (Tyler) Smith, it’s one or the other. Smith has given us some great games. Sweeney has given us some great games,” Wilton coach Jim Lewicki said.
“They get along. They work hard together. Nobody has a problem with who gets the call.”
Of Trumbull’s nine shots on target, the only goal came off a Sweeney punt. The Eagles’ Howard Qian knocked it down near midfield and quickly pushed it ahead to Tiago Frazao.
“The effort was outstanding,” Lewicki said. “We always have a great rivalry with Trumbull, though they’re not really a rival. The effort was fantastic.
“Unfortunately,” he added later, “we can’t buy a goal.”
Menjivar made four saves, three of them off corner kicks in a more-even second half. A couple of other Warriors shots just missed posts.
“They do move the ball well. They got behind us a couple of times,” Gangemi said.
“They gave everything they have. They’re going to beat a lot of teams.”
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Even in defeat, Christopher Sweeney was a difference-maker. The Wilton goalie made eight saves.
You’re generating exceptional scoring chances and watching the opposing goalkeeper swallow them up. You’re also high school kids. How do you keep from pressing?
“It’s just keeping everybody calm,” Moussavian said. “You don’t want to rile everybody up.”
Gangemi said it’s a matter of “getting back to simpler stuff.”
Wilton denied the Eagles similar chances in the second half.
Moussavian sees the Eagles as a top-five team by the end of the season.
“It’s just the way we’re playing,” he said. “We’re confident after our most recent games, this one and (a 6-0 win over) St. Joe’s.”
Four of the Eagles’ five remaining opponents opened Tuesday on the outside of FCIAC playoff position, though the first of those, Fairfield Warde, beat first-place Stamford on Tuesday. Last season’s co-champions are in excellent position to get back to the playoffs, though Gangemi said it’s not a done deal yet.
“We’re still defending the title. We don’t give it away that easily,” Gangemi said.
“The ball’s got to fall our way sometime.” —Wilton coach Jim Lewicki
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TRUMBULL 1, WILTON 0
TRUMBULL 1 0—1
WILTON 0 0—0
Records: Trumbull 8-3, 8-3 FCIAC; Wilton 4-5-2, 4-5-2. Goals: T—Tiago Frazao; Assists: T—Howard Qian; Goalies: T—Andrew Menjivar (4 saves); W—Christopher Sweeney (8); Shots: T—15; W—8