WESTPORT — There might not be a more physically demanding match this season in the FCIAC than the one at Loeffler Field on Saturday afternoon between Staples and Stamford.
With each team picking up three yellow cards — and one red card for Staples’ Anton Mahr — both squads pulled zero punches before the Black Knights were able to break a scoreless tie with an unassisted goal from senior Laudo Cardona to give Stamford a 1-0 win.
“I think every game that you play now in our league when you go away and can go home with three points is a great effort,” Stamford coach Mario Caminiti said.
After a scoreless first half, the momentum swung toward the Black Knights following the red card that sent Mahr off and left an already short-handed Staples squad — which was missing goalkeeper Ry Cohen — with a man-down disadvantage.
“We were playing with a fourth-string keeper, Will Birch, who did a great job,” Staples coach Dan Woog said. “But we played a great, hard match. Ended up playing a man down those last 20 minutes and we had a couple of injuries. But it was a hard-fought, good game.”
Through the physical play, Stamford was able to use the advantage after the red card as they continued to pressure the Wreckers’ defense until Cardona got his own rebound and found the back of the net for the winner with 17 minutes remaining.
“It was a good strike,” Cardona said. “But the defender blocked it at first. But I was able to get it and put it back in.”
After knocking off the Wreckers, Stamford has continued to play well on the road, posting a 4-1 record, including three straight wins away from the friendly confines of SHS.
This is Staples’ first loss since it dropped a 3-0 decision to Bridgeport Central on the road Sept. 23. It was also the Wreckers’ first home loss this season.
“It means a lot, because most of the teams are really aggressive and we don’t usually play like that. We play more tactical. So this game meant a lot because they’re a hard team.” — Stamford senior Laudo Cardona on winning the physical match against Staples.
STAMFORD 1, STAPLES 0
STAMFORD 0 1 — 1
STAPLES 0 0 — 0
Record: Staples 6-3-2, Stamford 8-2. Goals: STAM — Laudo Cardona, Goalies: STAP — Will Birch (3 saves); STAM — Alex Grabar (4 saves). Shots: STAM — 5 shots; STAP — 9 shots.