WALLINGFORD – The Wallingford Youth Soccer League Warriors dropped their third and final game of The Wallingford Invitational Soccer Tournament at Choate Rosemary Hall on Sunday, losing to Brazil CT Yellow by a score of 4-1.
The Warriors were eliminated from championship contention in the 12U Boys Division, as they already lost to the East Lyme Boys Classic team, 4-1, on Saturday.
Still, Wallingford head coach Brian Burr, was proud of his team’s effort on Sunday.
“I thought they played 100 times better than they did yesterday,” Burr said of his team. “The kids yesterday just wore down. We are playing on a bigger field and they’re small kids. They start running, they try to go from one end to another but they get exhausted.”
Sunday, however, was a different story, even in a loss.
“Today they were able to keep it going the whole game,” Burr said. “I was happy, not with the outcome, but the way they played.”
Wallingford came out of the gates aggressively, picking up a few fouls and a pair yellow cards early in the match.
The first card led to a penalty kick for Brazil Yellow, but the attempt missed high.
The Warriors flipped the script after that, controlling the ball and generating a scoring chance for striker Alex Rodriguez that was saved.
Another opportunity came later in the half as Adithya Nataraj sent a ball up field to Nico Cardona, but he was ruled offside, negating the scoring opportunity.
With the game still scoreless, Burr turned to his bench for some extra energy and they delivered for the Warriors on the offensive end.
Cheick Sy came into the game and made two solid runs up the right sideline, the second one resulting in a foul by Brazil Yellow that led to a penalty kick.
“Cheick is a very strong player,” Burr said. “He goes to goal and he loves [going to the net]. In the future, he is going to be a real big goal scorer.”
Diego Chavez got the Warriors on the board by converting the PK, but it would be the only time that they would find the back of the net on Sunday.
Brazil Yellow began to get some momentum going late in the first half. After tying the game up on their second penalty kick of the day, they rattled off a few more shots, giving them seven in the half.
The last one came on a breakaway that seemed to be a sure goal, but Wallingford keeper Finn Reynolds made a sliding stop to keep the score tied going into the half.
While Wallingford had clearly been the more aggressive team in the first frame, that would quickly change.
Brazil Yellow came out of the half on the attack, rattling off a goal less than five minutes in.
Wallingford struggled to generate scoring opportunities, getting just three shots on net in the second half.
“That’s what happens with small kids on a big field,” Burr said of his team in the second half. “They wore down. I explained to them that were playing on a big field and playing against a Brazil team that we all knew was a strong team [after the loss].”
Brazil Yellow continued to put the pressure on, extending the lead to 3-1 with less than ten minutes to play.
Oliver Brown gave the Warriors a few opportunities on net off of free kicks, but they all came up empty.
After Brazil extended the lead to 4-1 on a breakaway, Sy and Nataraj made one more run for Wallingford, playing a little give-and-go, but were unable to convert.
Despite the outcome, Burr was pleased with what his team did during 2018 TWIST play.
“They’re a good group of kids,” Burr said. “They play hard, they give it everything they got and that’s all I can really ask for.”
Also on Sunday, Wallingford soccer collected a pair of TWIST championships. The U19 Wallingford Wildfire won the U19 girls division and the Wallingford Raptors U19 boys took the title in their division.
Three area teams will be competing in championship matches on Monday including Meriden U13 girls and Wallingford U11 and U14 squads.