STAMFORD — Too many balls in the air. Too many hard-fought battles in the midfield. Too few scoring chances on net.
It all added up to the Westhill High School and McMahon High boys soccer teams finishing in a 1-1 tie Wednesday at the Vikings’ field.
The deadlock left both sides at 4-4-3 in the FCIAC and at least five points on the outside of the FCIAC playoff picture. The Vikings and Senators each have five contests left in the regular season.
A FORTUNATE POINT FOR MCMAHON
The Senators, playing without senior tri-captain and forward Elias Pardo, couldn’t break through offensively against Westhill goalie Michael Leiva (eight saves).
McMahon was able to grab a 1-0 edge just 7:31 into the clash. A wayward Westhill defensive pass and a communication breakdown led to an own goal.
The Senators fashioned a number of chances in the second half — especially off their five corner kicks — but could not come up with a potential winning goal.
“No question that we missed Eli (Pardo). We were fortunate to get that early lucky goal,” McMahon coach Rodrigo Guzman said. “We were playing not to lose today. We need to play like we’re trying to win. We have to believe as a group that we can win.”
The tie meant that McMahon was 2-0-1 in its last three games heading into Friday’s annual battle with intracity rival Norwalk High.
WESTHILL WILL MOVE ON
The deadlock was Westhill’s third tie in its last four contests around a 1-0 loss to Staples.
The post-game outlook wasn’t nearly as bright as it was after last Monday’s hard-fought 2-2 tie at Greenwich High.
“Today just wasn’t our day. Games like this happen. We just embraced the fact that we didn’t really have it going today and get through with a tie,” Westhill coach Joe Andrews said. “We just made mistakes. We had been playing very well over this recent stretch. Give credit to McMahon. They always give us a tough game. But this is what FCIAC boys soccer is.”
McMahon’s senior goalie Norberto Santiago IV collected 10 saves. Senior Lucas Goldfluss scored the lone Westhill goal 18:59 into the first half on a high chip tally over an overly-aggressive Senator defensive move.
Westhill did not get many scoring opportunities in close as the height of the McMahon defenders worked against the Vikings.
“When we’re not playing our game or our style, our impatience with the ball shows. We forced too much in the second half,” Westhill’s Andrews said. “We’ll just move forward. I like this group. We’ll just work through this bump in the road. We just need to focus on how we play and how we practice the rest of the way. Those are things we can control. There is still a lot of season left.”
MCMAHON 1, WESTHILL 1
MCMAHON 1 0—1
WESTHILL 1 0—1
Records: McMahon 4-4-3 FCIAC, Westhill 4-4-3 FCIAC. M—own goal. W—Lucas Goldfluss. Goalies: M—Norberto Santiago IV (10 saves). W—Michael Leiva (8 saves).