MIDDLETOWN >> American writer Gertrude Stein once said of Oakland, California, “There is no there there.”
She could have been talking about Monday’s listless soccer game between Cheshire and Xavier, a 0-0 Southern Connecticut Conference tie at Larry McHugh Field.
Except for a couple of isolated occasions, neither team threatened to score.
Both teams had about the same number of shots — Xavier had seven, Cheshire 10 — and most had no chance to find the back of the net. Each keeper made five saves, most of which were routine. It was an even, perhaps dull, match.
Doubt that? Pay attention to the coaches.
“It would have been a disservice to the game of soccer if either team had won today,” Cheshire coach Artur Branco.
Xavier coach Brian Fitzgerald?
“We came out flat,” Fitzgerald said. “We played tired. We can’t be having that right now. If we had shown a little more effort, we would have come away with a win rather than a tie. It was just ugly.”
Cheshire won the first game between the two, 2-1, and since the Falcons have been playing better lately, there was genuine optimism Xavier could have picked up a win while handing the Rams their first loss.
“We were coming off some strong games,” Fitzgerald said. “We wanted to keep it going today, but the level of play just dropped off. We should have had a win.”
Both teams had maybe one decent chance in the first half. With 9:18 left, Xavier set up a play in which Owen Stevenson nailed a cross to Brandon Dickens in front of the net, but Cheshire keeper Nathan Pisani made a diving intercept of the cross and the ball never got to Dickens.
With 30 seconds left in the half, Cheshire got a clean look from 20 yards out, but the shot went well wide and had no real chance.
That was it for the first 40 minutes.
Xavier keeper Alec Barca did make a good, quick-reaction save on a rocket from the Rams’ Andre Perreira at 20:55 from 10 yards out, but the shot was hit right at him.
Xavier’s Jason Addi had a good opportunity with 13 minutes left, but his shot was wide to the left of the net.
That was it for the second 40 minutes. The SCC does not play overtime.
“We obviously didn’t do very well today,” Branco said. “Xavier played hard and they stopped us from moving the ball and created difficulties for us. But nobody deserved to win this game.”
Since the start of the season, Xavier has added a goalkeeper — Barca — who lives in Spain.
“Yeah, he’s a foreign exchange student and he didn’t play early because of eligibility issues,” Fitzgerald said. “He’s a nice acquisition.”
Cheshire, despite all its travails, remained undefeated at 5-0-3. Xavier failed to get to .500 and is 2-3-3.
Xavier is home Wednesday at 3:45 p.m. with West Haven. It is the Falcons’ Go Pink game with donations accepted for the fight against breast cancer.
“While I was not happy with today, hopefully we can get a couple of wins this week starting with West Haven and get over .500,” Fitzgerald said.