TORRINGTON >> Torrington High School’s boys soccer team (3-0) kept its string going with a 2-0 win over Seymour (1-2) at Torrington’s Robert H. Frost Sports Complex Wednesday night.
The hard-fought win – a stand-off for 65 minutes – keeps the Red Raiders tied with Naugatuck for the early NVL lead.
“We didn’t play up to our capabilities, but we did what we had to do,” said Torrington Coach Mike Fritch, Jr.
The Raiders had possession for much of the game, but a tough Wildcat defense, backed by goalkeeper Roy Fitzgerald, helped keep Torrington shots out of the net or off the mark for much of the game.
“They kept with us,” said Raider midfielder Shane Bierfeldt.
It was partly a tough Wildcat team, partly an off day for the Raiders.
“We should have had a goal two minutes in,” said Fritch. “We should have had another, five minutes in.”
A wide-open Torrington shot sailed high in the second minute; a Raider passed up another wide open shot in the fifth.
Fritch blamed some of the team’s shooting rust on its schedule.
“We haven’t played since last Thursday,” he said. “A week off is unusual.”
Still, almost all of the first-half pressure came from Torrington.
“They had 10 corners,” marveled Seymour coach Joe Perrucci, whose team opened with a win over Holy Cross (3-1), then lost to Wilby (2-2) on corner-kick goals.
“That has an effect on your mind set. We seemed to be playing defense 100 percent of the time. Then we keep making mistakes. We clear the ball to the other team.”
When that didn’t happen, Torrington senior John McCarthy and junior Michael DeSousa turned Raider defense into a symphony.
Still, for all the possession, Torrington came away with only missed shots in the first half.
Both teams turned up the tempo in the second.
“I thought we played better in the second half, but we lost the game in the middle of the field,” Perrucci said.
Fritch had similar feelings about his Raiders.
“Our first touch was off every time,” he said. “We couldn’t string those two or three passes together.”
It took a near fluke to finally break through.
Twenty-five minutes into the second half, Bierfeldt crossed a pass into the box from the left side.
A Torrington player missed the connection at the goal mouth.
The ball skittered to the right post.
Junior Ryan Casper got a foot on it for the goal.
“Ryan Casper has elevated his game,” said Fritch. “He knows when he comes in, (center midfielder Bierfeldt) moves up, so Ryan has to play more defense. This time, Ryan moved up at just the right time.”
A similar shot at more firepower backfired for Perrucci.
“When it was 1-0, we were still in it, so I moved four guys up from the back to see if they could score,” he said.
Instead, with three minutes left in the game, the Raiders finally strung three great passes together for the insurance goal.
Kevin Vaca started it with a pass to Bierfeldt, who one-touched a cross into the Seymour box.
Alex Church stood five yards out at the far post to pound it in.
The Raiders meet defending NVL champion Watertown Friday afternoon at Torrington High School.
Last year, Torrington and Watertown went to overtime in the NVL Tournament finals for the crown.
Torrington 2, Seymour 0
At Torrington High School
Seymour 0 0-0
Torrington 0 2-2
Goals: T-Ryan Casper; Alex Church. Assists: T-Shane Bierfeldt 2; Kevin Vaca. Shots: 6-2 Torrington. Saves: S-Roy Fitzgerald 4. T-Zack Paniati 2.
Records: Seymour 1-2; Torrington 3-0.