NORWALK — It might have been a wind-chilled night, but there was nothing but rivalry-fueled fiery intensity at Testa Field as the Brien McMahon boys soccer team played Norwalk to a 2-2 draw Thursday night.
The cross-town competitors came into the match sitting next to each other in the FCIAC standings with Norwalk 5-3-4 and McMahon 4-3-4.
The game was highlighted by McMahon star forward Masai Castillero, who netted both of his team’s goals within 49 second of each other.
“It was playoff intensity, “Norwalk coach Chris Laughton said. “You don’t see this in any other league game. We know that going into it, it is for bragging rights for the year. Nobody wants to lose that game, so it definitely changes the intensity.”
Castillero’s first goal came in the 33rd minute as he one-touched a corner kick into the top corner of the net to tie the game at 1-1.
Less than a minute later Castillero struck again, this time burying a penalty shot to put McMahon up 2-1.
“[Castillero] is considered one of the top 25 players in the state,” McMahon coach Rodrigo Guzman said. “He’s come in big. He scored two goals last game, he scored two goals today and I’ve told him that wherever we go, he is going to take us there. When he steps up we’re fine.”
Norwalk’s first goal was tucked away by Pablo Jiminez in the 16th minute for the early 1-0 lead.
Norwalk would not score again, but benefited from a McMahon own goal on a corner kick that misdirected off the head of a McMahon defender in the 66th minute to even the game at 2-2.
“We were not panicking at halftime,” Laughton said. “I think we lost our composure and focus for a little and they scored and made us pay. They have some really good attackers, but I am happy with the fight. We had a plethora of chances, we hit the post and couldn’t put in the game winner so sometimes that happens.”
With the draw, Norwalk earns its 20th point, while McMahon increases its total to 17.
“I always say that I’ll take a point from Norwalk any day,” Guzman said. “It is a rivalry. You have to understand the emotions for the kids, they grew up together and they’ve played against each other. For me as a coach one point is good. If you can get three, we’d love to get three, but at the end of the day it is a rivalry, best friends playing against each other so I’m happy.”
Though some may be content with the draw, Laughton was looking for more.
“I hate losing and I hate tying,” Laughton said. “We go into every game expecting to win and wanting to win, so not happy with a tie.”
After the final whistle, short term enemies turned back into long-time friends as the teams shook hands and exchanged hugs following the contentious 80 minutes of play.