Trumbull boys soccer team to pressure FCIAC opponents

Sean Brennan, Alexander Conaway, Phillip Pires are Trumbull boys' soccer team captains.

Sean Brennan, Alexander Conaway, Phillip Pires are Trumbull boys' soccer team captains.

Trumbull Athletics / Contributed photo

The Trumbull boys’ soccer team will apply pressure on its opponents, as coach Sil Vitiello’s club pursues a spot in the FCIAC tournament.

“We will be aggressive. So much of the game is predicated upon pressure and creating chances out of that pressure,” Vitiello said. “It begins with defense. If we are applying pressure and winning balls in the more vulnerable parts of the field, we can be dangerous on the counter.”

Alexander Conaway, Sean Brennan and Phillip Pires will captain a team with 70 players (out of 110 candidates) rostered on three levels.

“Alexander and Sean are nicked up and fighting their way through,” Pires said of his tandem of center backs. “We moved Sean Racette to defense for now. When Sean is healthy, he will play there. Jack DiGiovanni and Sean Nteziryayo are promising sophomores on defense.”

Michael Bagley, another back, has been injured.

Vitiello said: “Injuries have impeded us a bit in the preseason. The plus is that other players have gotten an opportunity to get in there and give us depth on the backline. When healthy we will be solid in all three areas.”

Franco Milovanov is a playmaking midfielder.

“Franco is dynamic. A lot of teams will be keying on him,” Vitiello said of the junior. “Our two central midfielders are Phillip Pires and Alex DeMarrais. Lucas Fernandes and Tomasso Onofrio supply us with depth there.”

Young players are counted on to finish in the final third.

“Owen Bull, a sophomore, will play our striker position,” Vitiello said. “Bruno Brasil will be flanking him to the right and Richard MacDaniel will be on the left. Both are juniors. We will have these guys the next couple of years.”

A trio of players are vying to be keeper.

“We have senior Blaine Garcia, junior Jack Lumpinski and junior Deaglan Prendergast competing for the top job,” Vitiello said. “Deaglan, a transfer from St. Joseph, isn’t eligible until after eighth game.”

Scrimmages

Vitiello likes the positives that came from four scrimmages before Trumbull travels to Westhill for its Friday opener with the Vikings at 4 p.m.

“Against Amity and Shelton, it was about getting that feeling back,” Vitiello said. “We moved the ball well. We combined in the midfield well. We were tested by Naugatuck and Farminton, two of the better teams in the state. I was thrilled to be invited up there. It’s a nice measuring stick.

“Both came at us with more intensity. We got a taste of what it will be like later in the season. I expect Farmington to be a top 5 team again,” he said. “They jumped out on us 2-0 but we fought back to pull out a 2-2 draw. That will give the team confidence going forward.

“At this time last year, we struggled to create chances. This year is the opposite. We are getting forward with consistency. It is a matter of being sharper in the final third. That will come as season unfolds.”

Hitting reset button

“Last year was kind of a down year (4-7-1) for us, with graduation (10 seniors) and COVID. Everyone was in the same boat,” Vitiello said. “Knowing my players better this year going into the season is already an improvement. We can think about the game. We’ve had success in the recent past and the kids are excited to keep us near the top. In the FCIAC that is a difficult challenge. We will give it our best shot.”

He added: “I never thought I’d say I missed playing Greenwich, Danbury and Staples, but I did. Competing against the best teams in our area is something as a coach you look forward to. We have more juniors than we have seniors. If those juniors take the next step, we will be competitive. A spot in the FCIAC tournament and to compete for a state championship is our goal every year.”

william.bloxsom@hearstmediact.com Twitter: @blox354