Published on October 12th, 2017 | by Staples Soccer0
Match Report: Staples vs. Ridgefield
The Wreckers could have been worried about today’s match with Ridgefield, at Tiger Hollow.
Staples was coming off 2 consecutive 1-0 losses. The first — last Saturday — was a dramatic, hard-fought, end-to-end physical and emotional battle against division leader Stamford. The second — 2 days ago — was a lethargic, barely contested, thrown-away match to a team that until that day had not won a game all fall.
The Tigers would be the most formidable foe yet. Their 9-2-0 mark was the best in the FCIAC — and those 2 losses came in the first 2 matches of the year. They played them without injured JT Siano, a former Development Academy player whose return sparked Ridgefield to 9 straight victories.
The Wreckers, meanwhile, would be without the services of their 2 leading attackers. Anton Mahr was sitting with a yellow/red card accumulation; Timmy Liles was out with an injury. Both seniors are key leaders.
Another Stapleite played with a groin pull that left him less mobile than usual.
But no one told the blue-and-whites to be worried.
They had a game plan. And they followed it perfectly.
The plan started in the back. Chris Martenson, Ryan Fincher, Nick Ambrose and Gabe Baltierra moved together well, allowing Ridgefield a bit of space but not too much.They prevented any dangerous shots in the 1st half, other than one off the crossbar in the 35th minute. Whatever else they fired from long range, keeper Ry Cohen handled easily.
The Wreckers did not have to change much in the 2nd half. Steven Frost, Matt Engler, Will Birch, Patricio Perez Elorza and Nick DiMasi handled midfield chores; Vaughan Sealey, Sam Liles and Azam Plummer worked well up top.
The Tigers threatened more too, with several corner kicks and a few dangerous moments close in. Fincher made a key stop in the 47th minute; Cohen came up big with 14 minutes left.
But as the clock wore down, it was clear. Staples controlled the tempo of the match, and continued to frustrate their hosts.
When the final horn sounded, the Wreckers were not fatigued. They’d limited their running — and limited league-leading Ridgefield’s chances.
They did not celebrate — after all, they’d tied, not won — but they were satisfied being the 1st team in 10 games to shut down the league leaders, and hold them scoreless. They’d stuck to the game plan, and got a point in the standings against a team that had not given up any in over a month.
Almost immediately, they set their sights on Monday. Fairfield Ludlowe (home, 4 p.m.) entered today 1 point ahead of Staples in the standings. The battle for playoff spots and state tournament seedings continues.
And so does this very exciting — and unpredictable — season. FINAL SCORE: Staples 0, Ridgefield 0. SEASON RECORD: 6-4-3.
QUICK KICKS: Staples soccer’s annual car wash is this Saturday (October 14), from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Christ & Holy Trinity Church, downtown near Bedford Square, the Spotted Horse restaurant and Aux Delices….
The reserves shut out Ridgefield 3-0. Andrew Marshall netted the rebound of a Wilson Daniels shot; Daniels scored off a spectacular layoff by Mauricio Inglada; then Daniels added another, off a ball into the box from Daniel Leaf….
The reserves drew 1-1 with Ridgefield. George Smith scored, off a great pass from Zach Pulichino. Both played excellently — as did keeper Reed Caney, Aidan Middlebrook and Sam Seideman.