GREENWICH — Greenwich held the possession edge on FCIAC boys soccer foe Ridgefield during Friday’s matchup, but the Tigers had the advantage in the most significant area — goals scored.
And a quick strike by senior center forward JT Siano was all the Tigers needed to keep their slight edge in this well-played game.
Siano’s goal in the 13th minute held up, as Ridgefield held on to record a well-earned 1-0 win over Greenwich at Cardinal Stadium. With their fourth straight triumph, the Tigers raised their record to 4-2 on an evening in which they were on the defensive the majority of the game.
“We need to accept this win and move forward, that could have been a loss very easily,” Ridgefield coach Phil Bergen said. “Greenwich played exceptionally well. We’ll take it though, we’ve had bad luck the past few years.”
The Cardinals (4-2) outshot the Tigers 8-5 and applied pressure on the visitors throughout behind the aggressive play of senior forwards Federico Irigoyen, Fermin Mendive and Christopher Cruz.
“I am disappointed, but I am not upset,” GHS coach Kurt Putnam said. “That was the best game we played this year. I don’t think you can say Ridgefield had a stranglehold on the game. I’m disappointed we didn’t get something from the game, I thought we deserved something. Our finishing was not quite there.”
The game-winning goal came with 26:04 remaining in the first half. Siano received a pass with time and space, positioned himself to get an angle, then booted a shot from 35 yards out past Greenwich junior goalie Jimmy Johnson, who had to attempt to block out the sun on the play. Siano’s shot settled into inside the left corner of the goal.
“My teammates did a good job of creating space and opening up the field for me,” Siano said. “I was able to cut in and take a good shot. Luckily, I think the sun was in the keeper’s eyes.”
Johnson made four saves for Greenwich, which visits Staples on Monday.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Siano’s goal was the difference in this intense match. He also went on several strong runs throughout the game and when the Tigers put pressure on Greenwich’s defenders, he was in the middle of the action.
Ridgefield sophomore goalie Raymond Dearth kept his squad in front with eight saves. Greenwich put three shots on goal during a five-minute stretch late in first half, two of which were by Irigoyen, but Dearth held the Cardinals scoreless.
Senior captains Ben Sasse and Nicolas David spearheaded Ridgefield’s defensive effort.
“Our defense won the game for us,” Bergen said. “Without our defenders it would have been a different story. Ray was great in goal too, he has great instincts and reads the plays very well.”
“Our intensity was fantastic,” Putnam said. “We won the majority of the 50/50 balls, our tackling was good and I liked our work rate. Our marking was a lot tighter than it had been, making it difficult for them to move the ball.”
“It’s definitely a big win moving forward,” Siano said. “It’s a great team win. We were a little scrappy at times, but we’re still glad it was a win.”
RIDGEFIELD 1, GREENWICH 0
RIDGEFIELD 1 0 — 1
GREENWICH 0 0 — 0
Records: Ridgefield 4-2; Greenwich 4-2
Goals: R — JT Siano; Goalies: R — Raymond Dearth (8 saves); G — Jimmy Johnson (4 saves).