Greenwich boys soccer blanks Hilltoppers, 4-0

The Greenwich High School boys soccer team blanked Bridgeport Central High School 4-0 Monday night at Kennedy Stadium. — Paul Silverfarb photo

The Greenwich High School boys soccer team blanked Bridgeport Central High School 4-0 Monday night at Kennedy Stadium. — Paul Silverfarb photo

Although it took a little longer than head coach Kurt Putnam would have liked, the Greenwich High School boys soccer team kept the good times rolling along Monday afternoon, upending Bridgeport Central High School, 4-0.

“For the first 15 minutes I think the game was fairly even,” Putnam said. “Once we realized we needed to release the ball quickly and get their back line turned, we can actually capitalize. It was then when those goals kind of came one after another.”

The GHS defense stops the Bridgeport Central attack during Monday's game at Kennedy Stadium. — Paul Silverfarb photo

The GHS defense stops the Bridgeport Central attack during Monday’s game at Kennedy Stadium. — Paul Silverfarb photo

And it’s a good thing the Cardinals got the victory. As Greenwich is a team that has the talent, but very little varsity experience and will be competing in a very tough stretch of its season shortly.

In the seventh minute of its game against Central, Big Red found the back of the net when senior Liam Tracey got the ball from junior Nick Bartels, who was on the right side of the net, and tapped the cross-goal pass into the net for the 1-0 lead.

Although Greenwich had the lead, they were unable to add to it until the 35th minute. Against the Hilltoppers, it was obvious that Greenwich wasn’t used to playing on the old-school turf field at Kennedy Stadium, a far cry from the FieldTurf surface at Greenwich High School or even natural grass surfaces.

“I tried to explain to them that we are on a different field and things won’t work well here,” Putnam said. “Last year we had to adjust a lot against Warde because they played on high grass, we had a crappy bus ride and a crappy warmup, but we were able to close them down quick, win possession of the ball and play a quick and aggressive game. I asked them to do the same thing today. I wanted to get their back line under pressure as quickly and often as we can, but we kicked short and little passing game.”

In the 35th minute, Bartels broke free form the Central defense and charged the net. In the box, Bartels was taken down and was awarded the penalty kick. During the kick, Bartels faked shooting left and went to the right corner for the 2-0 lead.

Four minutes later, Bartels tallied another point for Big Red as the GHS attack was once again on full display. Deep in the Bridgeport Central zone, Greenwich was pressuring and forced Central into a mistake, causing a hand ball. Bartels took the free kick just outside the goalie box, beat the wall of Central defenders in front of him and hit the low right corner of the net for the 3-0 lead.

Still with one minute before the first half ended, the Cardinals struck once more. After GHS gained possession of the ball quickly after play resumed, senior Karol Juszczyk took the ball down the field and passed to Tracey, who blasted the shot past the BCHS goalie for the 4-0 lead in the 40th minute.

“Nick played a great game today, considering he’s not a center midfielder,” Putnam said. “It’s not easy for him to play that position. Paul (Quiroga) covered a lot of ground today for us and we really needed it. David (Michaud) played a great game at right back, considering he started in his first game of the season. Andrew Ramirez had a solid day at defense, but I also thought the entire defense played really well.”

With the victory, the Cardinals improved to 4-1 on the young season. With the amount of inexperienced athletes on the varsity squad, starting a plethora of sophomores and dealing with a slew of injuries, Putman is quite pleased where his team currently sits.

“We are just happy to get out of here with a win,” Putnam said. “It wasn’t pretty, but we got the job done. The boys need to understand that every now and then it’s about coming in here and getting the job done.”

For more on the GHS boys soccer team, check Thursday’s Greenwich Post sports section.

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