TRUMBULL — Every so often a soccer game needs a moment of brilliance to break a stalemate. On drizzly Monday afternoon the left foot of Nicola Milovanov provided just that moment.
The Trumbull junior’s spectacular first-half volley helped lift his team past Brien McMahon 2-1 in early-season FCIAC action.
“He took a beautiful shot,” Trumbull coach Sebastian Gangemi said. “It was impressive.”
There was little to separate the teams for the first 29 minutes, until a headed clearance fell toward Milovanov at the top of the Senators’ penalty area. The junior midfielder opened up his body and struck the ball perfectly with his weaker foot, arcing it over McMahon keeper Noberto Santiago IV.
“It was timing. The ball was spinning and I hit it at the right angle,” Milovanov said.
Trumbull, an FCIAC finalist a year ago, made it 2-0 in the 61st minute when Santiago raced off his line, trying to pluck the ball off the toes of Eagles’ standout striker Jason Weinstein — something he’d done successfully minutes earlier. This time the ball found its way to Tiago Frazao, who guided through a couple defenders and into the empty net.
McMahon (0-2-1) spent most of the game man-marking Weinstein in an attempt to take him out of the game.
“The No. 9 (Weinstein) is a beast,” McMahon coach Rodrigo Guzman said. “We had to man up and put a player on him the whole game. That’s the only way you can cover as talented player as he is.”
Scoring twice without Weinstein on the scoresheet is something Trumbull (3-0-1) knows other teams will notice.
“It showed we’re able to score and we’re not just a one-man team,” Milovanov said.
McMahon made it interesting in the final five minutes after Masai Castillero was taken down inside the box. The junior converted the ensuing penalty kick to make it 2-1, but McMahon couldn’t find an equalizer.
Despite the loss, Guzman thinks the Senators continue to make strides against the FCIAC’s better programs. McMahon opened the season with a 1-1 draw against reigning league champ Greenwich — a game the Senators led in the second half.
“I keep telling my kids we can’t make any mistakes,” Guzman said. “The first goal they scored, beautiful goal, you tip your hat to them, but we’re that type of team — we’re trying to bring this program up — and mistakes cannot happen for us.”
Gangemi also noticed an improvement with McMahon.
“They’re a pretty good team,” Gangemi said. “They’re a lot better than they’ve been in the past.”
Player of the Game
Nicola Milovanov, Trumbull — The Trumbull junior’s left-footed volley in the first half was a top drawer finish at any level.
Although the Trumbull keeper Christopher Prizio didn’t need to make a lot of saves against McMahon, the senior showed excellent presence and judgement inside his box, jumping to collect numerous crosses and free kicks in traffic.
“I still believe these kids have the heart. This is the thing I said to them, you guys have the heart and you just need to keep working because we have the talent.” — McMahon coach Rodrigo Guzman on his team’s improvements to start the season.
TRUMBULL 2, McMAHON 1
BRIEN MCMAHON 0 1—1
TRUMBULL 1 1—2
Records: Brien McMahon 0-2-1; Trumbull 3-0-1
Goals: BM—Masai Castillero; T—Nicola Milovanov, Tiago Frazao; Goalies: BM—Noberto Santiago (7 saves); T—Christopher Prizio (3)