DANBURY — The unbeaten Danbury High School boys soccer team is determined to lock up the top seed in the upcoming FCIAC playoffs, and the Hatters took another step toward doing just that on Monday.
Joe Mooney had a goal and an assist and Marcelo Diaz and Thiago DeSousa each added a goal apiece as the Hatters blanked Wilton 3-0. Danbury goalkeeper Matthew Silva didn’t need to make a single save to preserve the shutout, thanks in large part to the Hatters’ almost impenetrable defense.
As the lone undefeated team in the FCIAC, Danbury sits alone atop the standings and has already clinched a spot in the conference playoffs. The top seed — and, theoretically speaking, the most favorable matchups throughout the tournament — is their next goal.
“It was a nice, solid game,” Danbury coach Antony Howard said. “Of course, we have areas we need to improve upon, but we’ve given ourselves a good chance of getting a top-four spot at least, which is what we want.”
Two games remain on Danbury’s regular-season schedule, and they’re big ones. The Hatters are scheduled to visit Greenwich on Thursday and host Trumbull the following Tuesday — and those are the two teams directly behind them in the standings.
“Every game is big, and those games are going to be the biggest we’ve had,” Mooney said. “Those are two games we have to win if we want to get first.”
Mooney put Danbury (9-0-5) on the board in the 28th minute, converting off a sensational pass from Jorge Guerrero. Diaz and DeSousa added insurance goals in the second half.
“We didn’t get any quality shots at all,” Wilton coach Jim Lewicki said. “Danbury defensively shut us down pretty well. They did a really nice job in the midfield and some really nice running on the wings. We didn’t really do anything to try to capitalize on any mistakes, and they really didn’t make too many mistakes.”
During his halftime pep talk, Howard implored his players not to feel comfortable with their 1-0 lead. After all, even though the Hatters held a noticeable advantage in time of possession and hadn’t allowed a shot on goal, they were still only one misstep or quirky bounce away from a tie game.
The Hatters heeded Howard’s advice and continued to pepper the Wilton goal with shots. Warriors goalkeeper Kace Stewart finished with 11 saves and was able to keep Danbury at bay for much of the second half.
Diaz finally broke through in the 72nd minute, banging home the rebound of a shot by Lucas Oliveira to give Danbury a 2-0 lead and some much-needed breathing room. DeSousa added a goal in the 78th minute off an assist from Mooney.
“In this league, you can’t let up,” Howard said. “Every game in this league is tough. You play eighth, ninth, 10th, 11th position teams, and they can turn you over. One goal is not enough to sit on against anybody. We knew we had to go out and keep pressing.”
THERE’S STILL HOPE
Wilton (3-7-3) has taken its share of lumps this season, although it is still in contention for a spot in the Class LL state tournament. The Warriors have three games remaining; they’re set to visit Brien McMahon on Thursday, host Stamford on Saturday and host Fairfield Ludlowe next Monday. They still have a chance to improve their winning percentage to .400 or better to qualify.
“The next three games will really tell where we are,” Lewicki said. “We’ll see what happens.”
Danbury 3, Wilton 0
Goals: Danbury: Joe Mooney (from Jorge Guerrero), 28:00. Danbury: Marcelo Diaz (from Lucas Oliveira), 72:00. Danbury: Thiago DeSousa (from Joe Mooney), 78:00. Shots: Wilton 1, Danbury 27. Saves: Wilton: Kace Stewart 11; Danbury: Matthew Silva 0.