RIVALRY SOCCER: Maloney football place-kicker scores game-winner against Platt

RIVALRY SOCCER: Maloney football place-kicker scores game-winner against Platt

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MERIDEN — Maloney completed another season soccer sweep of crosstown rival Platt on Tuesday afternoon on a goal in the 70th minute by senor Jaden Myles in a CCC contest at Platt.

The senior broke away from the Platt defense and took a shot on goalie Josiah McLeish. The senior keeper made the initial stop on the one-on-one encounter, but the goalie hit the ground after the shot went just to the left of the goal.

Myles was able to keep his balance and tapped in the rebound and rushed back to midfield with his arms in the air. 

It was the senior’s first career goal after exclusively kicking for the football team last season.

“It felt great,” Myles said after the final horn sounded on Maloney’s 1-0 victory. “I just capitalized on the opportunity. Ivan (Bruce) hit it to the middle and Alex (Torres) hit a great ball and I took advantage of it.”

Torres was credited with the assist. 

The goal gave the visitors the season sweep. The Spartans beat Platt 2-1 at Maloney on Oct. 3.

Maloney now 3-4 on the season, has won the last 18 meetings with the Panthers dating back to 2011. However, the last four contests were all decided by one goal.

“I thought that was collectively the best game we’ve played as far as doing what we had to do to win,” Maloney coach Dave Parness said. “We played harder than we have been. Good things happen like that when you put pressure on them. You get a cheap goal like that. But I thought we had a few chances to get the ball in the back of the net.”

Offensive chances were limited on both sides throughout.

The first half was scoreless. Justin Bennett had the first shot of the game for Platt in the opening minutes.

The Spartans followed with four straight set pieces against McLeish. The keeper was up to task. Two of the free kicks were taken by Maloney senior captain Ivan Bruce.

The best chance for either side in the first half was a run by Myles in the 36th minute. He centered the ball and the Spartans had two pokes at it. Each was turned away by McLeish (4 saves).

Maloney’s Alejandro Garcia started in goal for the Spartans. Devin Juan relieved him midway through the first half. Juan, a four-year starter coming back from injury, played the rest of the game. Garcia had one save, Juan had three in the shutout.

Both teams had their chances in the second half. Maloney had a flurry of free kicks between the 62nd and 66th minute before Myles’ goal in the 70th minute.

Platt got a free kick from standout  Elian Nava in the closing minutes, but it was blocked before it threatened the net.

Platt coach Tim Redican said Tuesday’s game could have gone either way.

“We fought hard,” Redican said. “We like to see that. It’s difficult. We have to give them credit. They found a way to score. They always find a way to score and we struggle to find that.”

Platt (2-5) lost senior Jason Betun to injury during the first half. Redican said he has about 13 guys at his disposal. Numbers have been an issue this season. Many of the Panthers played all 80 minutes on Tuesday.

“It’s unfortunate for the seniors,” Redican said. “I ask them to do a lot. It’s tough on them to play 80 minutes, but they wanted to be on the field.”

Redican mentioned Xavier Febles, Michael Urban and Ever Aleman Reyes as standouts for Platt on Tuesday, in addition to Nava.

“He had three guys on him and sometimes he tried to do too much,” Redican said of Nava. “He wants everything on his shoulders.”

Parness said both teams played hard.

“Platt’s good,” Parness said. “They play hard and their keeper did a great job.”

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