Soccer: Finding offense to match defense key

Trumbull High’s boys soccer team will strive to carry over it’s defensive stinginess from a year ago and, at the same time step up its game on offense as the 2015 season begins.

Although the Eagles outscored teams 28-19 in 16 games, they lost five very close regular season games by 1-0 or 2-1 scores. Trumbull posted a record of 7-7-2, missed qualifying for the FCIAC tournament by just one win, and got into the Class LL state bracket as the No. 23 seed. The Eagles took FCIAC rival Norwalk, the No. 10 seed, through overtime and into penalty kicks before seeing the season end in a 2-1 decision.

A key to success this fall, head coach Sebastian Gangemi said, is “Being able to find the combination to score, because I know we can defend very well. We won’t give up many goals.”

He is hopeful that some of the games that turned into hard-fought, low-scoring setbacks play out differently this fall. “I think we will be a little more balanced and explosive,” Gangemi said. “I have high expectations. First and foremost, I’d like to make the state tournament,” adding that qualifying for the state and FCIAC brackets won’t be easy given the depth and strength of teams on the schedule.

Gangemi said an early-September FCIAC Coaches Poll had his team eighth in the conference. If that holds true, the Eagles would be the last team into the FCIAC tourney.

There were a dozen seniors on last year’s roster, but a wealth of experienced team members return for this campaign. The captains are Daniel Russo, who anchors the defense. outside midfielder T.J. Coughlin, center midfielder Thang Dao, and forward Max Neary.

Other returnees include center defender Paul Costa, defender Jeremiah Caravallo, defender Harrison Crosley, forward Matthew Restrepo, goalkeeper Jonathan Campbell, midfielder Elvis Rodriguez, and forward Eric Neil. The team also welcomes the additions of transfers Christopher Lancia and Connor Jorge, both of whom will play in the midfield.

The season is set to begin on Friday, Sept. 11, when Staples of Westport visits for a 3:45 p.m. contest. The Eagles visit St. Joseph for a 4 p.m. game on Tuesday, Sept. 15. A rematch of last year’s state tourney opener is set for Friday, Oct. 2, in Norwalk, beginning at 7 p.m.