Boys soccer: Wilton falls to Cards on late goal

Greenwich used late first-half and second-half goals to beat the host Wilton High boys soccer team, 2-1, at Kristine Lilly Field on Tuesday night.

The Cardinals scored the game-winner with just under two minutes left to play.

With the win the Cardinals remain unbeaten on the season at 5-0, while the Warriors dropped to 1-3.

“We battled and gave a great effort against one the best teams in the conference for 78 minutes and we needed to battle for 80 minutes” said Wilton head coach Jim Lewicki. “Our team clearly came to play tonight and was ready for the challenge, but it stings when you let them score two goals in the closing seconds of the first half and in the final two minutes of the game. We’re still a young team when it comes to varsity experience, who went up against a team with 23 seniors, 10 that start."

Lewicki praised a "solid performance" in goal by Tyler Smith, who was subbing for the normal starter, Charlie Hess.

“I was pleased with the team’s effort and focus tonight and I told them if we come out and play like this every game against the rest of the league, the wins will come," Lewicki said. "But the schedule doesn’t get any easier.”

The Cardinals’ controlled the tempo of the game and also won the possession game. The Greenwich seniors demonstrated great dribbling and ball-handling skills to keep the pressure on the Warrior defense.

But it was Wilton that took the early lead, scoring on the team’s first shot on goal in the seventh minute of play. Alvaro Alonso sent a centering pass to Kevin Connolly deep in the Greenwich zone. Connolly blasted a hard, low shot just inside the near post that the Cardinals’ goalie, Christopher MacKay, got a piece of, but the ball trickled into the net, giving the Warriors the 1-0 lead.

The Cardinals had a chance to even the score in the 20th minute. Alejandro MacLean dribbled past several Warriors to get off a shot, but Smith came up big with the save. Smith got help from his defense, which cleared the ball off the goal line.

In the 29th minute, a Greenwich corner kick played in front of the goal was picked up by Smith to keep the Cardinals off the board. Wilton had a chance to grow its lead in the 32nd minute. Tim Foley had the Greenwich goalie beat towards the near post, but he pulled his shot wide of the net.

Soon after the missed shot attempt, the Warriors had two consecutive corner kicks, but couldn’t capitalize on either one.

With about a minute left on the clock in the first half, the Cardinals took their first of three straight corner kicks and put the third try in the net. Flavien Lolo lofted the corner kick to the center of the goal mouth and found Inaki Mendive unmarked to settle the ball and score for the Cardinals with 23.4 seconds remaining in the half, making it 1-1.

The Warriors displayed confidence and weren’t quick to get rid of the ball, which enabled them to shut down many of the visitor's rushes.

The second half got off to a fast start, with Greenwich firing a shot on net in the first minute of play. The Cardinal again in the second half controlled the ball for most of the period, but the Warriors got solid backline play from senior co-captain Bennett Watson.

“We’re growing as a team, as we lack the experience of playing together. I’m happy for the effort the team gave tonight, but it’s very disappointing to let up a late goal and lose,” said Watson.

Greenwich’s Kai Lammers scored the game-winner with just 1:46 remaining in the game to give the Cardinals the 2-1 win.