GREENWICH — Shutout specialists.
Five games into its season, that’s the role the Greenwich boys soccer team has played in all of its matchups.
Possessing the ball the majority of the game, while playing stellar defense when it needed to, Greenwich improved its record to 5-0 with a convincing 4-0 victory over St. Joseph Tuesday at Cardinal Stadium.
The Cardinals have yet to allow a goal this season.
“The fact that we haven’t let up a goal is a great sign,” said Cardinals senior goalie/co-captain Padraig Colligan, who combined with Aidan Munoz to make four saves. “The 10 players in front of me have been great, I haven’t seen that many shots. We’ve gotten our chemistry down.”
Greenwich, which is in first place in the FCIAC West Division with 15 points (three points for each win), received one goal and two assists from junior forward Matias Lew. St. Joseph (1-3) trailed 2-0 at halftime and continued to feel Greenwich’s pressure during the second half.
“We came out really strong,” Lew said. “We said in the team talk before the game that we wanted to have two goals in the first 20 minutes and we came out and did that, so we achieved our goal today.”
Receiving a pass from Lew, sophomore forward Joao Lima beat a defender down the left sideline and booted a shot from five yards out past Cadets junior goalie Cameron Reichenbach, giving GHS a 1-0 lead in the 10th minute.
In the 20th minute, Lew gathered the ball deep in the box, with Greenwich applying pressure and knocked a shot inside the right post, making it 2-0.
The Cards had several more scoring chances in the opening half and added one more goal against Reichenbach, who played well, making five first-half saves. The Cadets goalie registered nine saves for the game.
“We started out well, but we made a lot of mistakes,” said St. Joseph first-year coach Thomas Connolly, who credited junior Manny Santos and senior Carlos Barrera for leading his squad. “At this level, if you make a mistake, you are going to get punished. But the guys kept going, which is a positive. It’s going to help us.”
St. Joseph played a defensive-type game, in order to slow down the Cardinals, who focused on being patient against the visitors’ formation.
“They came in with a game plan and in doing that we had to be smart to be able to break them down,” GHS coach Kurt Putnam said. “We used good combination play and third man running.”
Senior Pablo Vera tallied in transition after senior Lucas Toro moved the ball to him in the 38th minute, putting the home team on top, 3-0. Capitalizing on a set piece, senior Josh Frumin tallying off a corner kick from Lew, giving the Cards a 4-0 advantage in the 50th minute.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Lew set the pace for the Cardinals offensively.
“The first five games, we have been playing really well and we’ve done a good job of distracting the defense and confusing them, so we have more space with the ball,” Lew said.
“Not allowing a goal this season is the most surprising thing,” Putnam said. “It has been a collective effort, it’s due to our work rate. The team tries to make it difficult for our opponents.”
Said Colligan: “The team was focused from the warm-up. We reminded them that any team can beat anyone in any game.”