By Jim Bransfield
MIDDLETOWN >> There just might be something special about this year’s Middletown High boys soccer team.
The Blue Dragons are anchored by a first-rate goalkeeper in Chris Rodo, and the field is littered with veteran players, led by its high-scoring finisher Joey Pizzuto. But maybe the thing that indicates the team might be something special is that while it can win 4-0 like it did Tuesday night, it’s not automatic that the coach is delighted.
And just for the record, the somewhat less than pleased coach has an undefeated team on his hands.
Middletown improved to 6-0 by dispatching Platt of Meriden (1-5) at Rosek-Skubel Stadium. The Blue Dragons built a 3-0 halftime lead on two goals by Joe Marino and another by Pizzuto, his eighth of the season.
“We were looking to score early and we did that,” said Middletown coach Sal Emanuele. “But we were sloppy at times. In a game like this we don’t want to develop bad habits. We were lethargic in the first half. I would have liked to establish a passing/possession type of game and instead we just played straight ahead. Platt gave us space to so that, but the good teams won’t let us.”
Marino gave the Dragons a 1-0 lead with 35:55 left in the first half. The score went to 2-0 when Pizzuto took a brilliant pass from Umberto Spada and fired it past keeper Jaelin Highsmith from 10 yards out with 26:39 showing on the clock.
Highsmith made a couple of very good saves, one just 80 seconds into the match and another with 21:35 to go in the half.
Marino’s second goal came with 11:23 remaining in the half. Highsmith was injured with 2:14 left and didn’t play for the rest of the night.
“At times we looked good tonight,” said Emanuele. “We were able to finish off four opportunities and I was happy with that. But I also have to say that we made some mistakes in the back, like giving the ball away, and we can’t do that against a good team. They would make us pay for doing that.”
Middletown had 12 shots to Platt’s three. Rodo had three saves, all garden variety stops, while two Platt keepers made six saves.
“Pizzuto has been excellent for us so far,” said Emanuele. “Eight goals in six games is very good. Rodo has been great. He is a big reason why we’ve been able to accomplish what we have so far.
“I was also happy to get a lot of kids into the game tonight.’
Things get a little tougher Friday as Berlin comes to town at 6 p.m.
“Berlin is a good team,” said Emanuele. “We tend to step up in big games, so I’m looking forward to Friday.”