Boys soccer: Stamford Knights defeat St. Joseph Cadets

Despite matching visiting Stamford High in shots at the goal and bettering their FCIAC rivals in corner kick opportunities, the St. Joseph boys soccer team dropped a 2-0 decision on Monday afternoon.

The Cadets fell to 3-4-2, and Stamford improved to 3-3-2.

The Black Knights appear to have found their stride, going unbeaten in five consecutive matches, while the Cadets are looking to find theirs with injured players getting back into game shape.

“It was not our best performance,” said Cadet coach Carlos Alberto Reinoso Jr., adding that part of the team’s problem is that a trio of starters have been hurt.

Two of them – Jack McDermott and Matt Guzzi – missed the Stamford game, and Robert Razzaia was on the field but not yet back at full strength.

The good news for the Cadets is that all of these players are expected to be cleared to play in next Monday’s game against Trumbull, as they look to make a push toward postseason qualification. The team needs three wins or combination of wins (worth three points) and ties (one point) totaling nine.

“We’re pretty confident we can get that,” Reinoso said. “We need some better chemistry on the field with some of the passing and some more communication.”

Stamford had the better of the play at times.

“They outplayed us, really. They won every 50-50 ball and we didn’t finish and they did,” St Joe’s defender and captain Kenny Schneider said.

“They won the midfield battle,” Cadet goalkeeper and captain Tyler Higgins added.

But the Cadets know this is just one game.

“One performance doesn’t really define us,” Schneider pointed out.

Reinoso said the Cadets will work on different formations and defensive tactical work in practice.

“We’ve just got to improve our effort. A lot of good is  going to come out of it,” captain and defensive midfielder Sawyer Meehan said.

St Joe’s trailed 1-0 at the half.

The Cadets kept the pressure on Stamford for the better part of the first four minutes out of the break, only to see their opponent get two golden chances in a span of 30 seconds. But Higgins made a save and another shot went wide, keeping things a one-goal difference.

Higgins finished with 10 saves.

Less than eight minutes into the second half, Cristian Cinque’s touch pass to Razzaia created a chance for the Cadets to even the score but Razzaia’s shot went over the top.

Meehan, Carlos Barrera, Jack Attanasio and Manny Santos also created solid scoring chances.

Throw-in specialist Ben Talbot set up some chances with tosses into the 18-yard box, including one that Meehan headed on goal.

Stamford added to its lead with a nice passing sequence paying off for a 2-0 cushion just over a dozen minutes into the second half.

Schneider and Mark Leonardi blocked shots and slide tackled to break up plays when Stamford gained momentum in the second half.

The Cadets kept plugging away and tried to break up the shutout, but were stymied. They finished with a 6-4 advantage in corner kick opportunities.

Higgins made 10 saves. Stamford’s Estevan Vargas made 11 stops.

Dieuferson Lemene and Nevin Avila scored for Stamford.

Reinoso likes the overall improvement of the program in recent years and said the program is looking to develop similarly to the girls with feeder program of sorts in place.

New assistant coach Fabian Cano runs Revolution FC, which the coaches are hoping will help in player development prior to high school.

“From last year to this year, there’s been tremendous improvement. The boys have played well overall, put a lot of effort and heart into their games,” Reinoso said.