GREENWICH — Rivals Greenwich and Trumbull dueled to a pair of draws last season, including a tie in the FCIAC Boys Soccer Tournament final. Yet Francisco Liguori made sure a victor emerged when the Cardinals and Eagles met in Thursday’s conference showdown.
One goal decided the physical matchup and the opportunistic Liguori was on the scene to tally for the Cardinals.
Liguori’s goal off a corner kick lifted Greenwich to a well-earned 1-0 win over Trumbull in a key FCIAC West Division game held at Cardinal Stadium.
With its third straight triumph, Greenwich improved to 7-3 and has 21 points on the season, good for first place in the FCIAC West. Trumbull (6-3) has 18 points in the division.
“In the midfield, we won a lot of first and second balls and we were creative going forward,” said GHS coach Kurt Putnam, whose Cardinals played the Golden Eagles to a 1-1 tie in the conference tournament finals last fall. “It was another solid performance by our team with a lot of intensity. After three games between us, one team finally got a win.”
Junior captain/goalie Jimmy Johnson made four saves for the Cards, who have posted four shutouts so far this season.
“All of the team is ecstatic about this win coming off last year when we had two ties against them,” Johnson said. “It feels good to get what we deserved. Our intensity paid off and it showed in this game.”
Senior goalie Andrew Menjivar was outstanding in goal for Trumbull, keeping it a one-goal game with 12 saves.
“I think Greenwich was a little better than us today, the result was fair,” Trumbull coach Sebastian Gangemi said. “We didn’t capitalize on anything we created. The first half we were not playing great on defense, but the second half we picked it up and clogged the holes.”
TAKING THE LEAD
The Cardinals scored the go-ahead goal with 2:37 remaining in the first half. Senior Federico Irigoyen served his corner kick from the right side into the box and Liguori rose high and directed a header past Menjivar inside the left post, making it 1-0.
“It was hard for them to mark us up in the middle,” Liguori said. “Our movement off the ball was really good. They are a good physical team in the middle and up top and they put up a good fight.”
The home team nearly extended its lead several times. Junior Christopher Cruz’s free kick in the 42nd minute was deflected by the right hand of Menjivar before it hit the crossbar. Menjivar also stopped a shot from close in by senior Martin Garcia. Senior Fermin Mendive, Garcia and Cruz kept the pressure on Trumbull, while senior Nick Glass anchored the defensive play for Greenwich, which held the possession edge.
“Nick Glass was incredible against Jason Weinstein, one of the best strikers in the conference,” Putnam said.
HOLDING ON TO THE LEAD
The Eagles applied more pressure in the second half. Senior Connor Bluestein was wide with a header in the 59th minute, Panayiotis Xenakis and Anthony Barreira each registered shots on goal for the visitors.
“It was a very even game,” Trumbull senior captain Christopher Conaway said. “What really decided this game was the 50/50 balls and who won the balls up in the air. We’ll take this game as a learning curve.”
Greenwich visits Westhill on Saturday, while Trumbull travels to St. Joseph on Saturday.
GREENWICH 1, TRUMBULL 0
TRUMBULL 0 0 — 0
GREENWICH 1 0 — 1
Records: Greenwich 7-3; Trumbull 6-3
Goals: G — Francisco Liguori; Assists: G — Federico Irigoyen; Goalies: T — Andrew Menjivar (12 saves); G — Jimmy Johnson (4 saves).