BOYS SOCCER: Middletown plays spoiler in Platt’s home debut

MERIDEN — The Platt Panthers boys soccer team dropped its home opener Monday against the Middletown Blue Dragons, 6-0.

Seshank Keshar, Marshall Butler and Dario Rigano led the Blue Dragons to the Central Connecticut Conference victory by scoring two goals a piece.

That left the Panthers and first-year coach Martin Cheney standing at 0-2.

“We gotta get our energy up before our games, we gotta show up ready to play,” Cheney said after Monday’s final horn. “I think we sat back today and it hurt us. We didn’t show up until later in the game and, even then, it was too little, too late.”

From the start of the game, Middletown (2-0) controlled the pace of the game in every aspect — time of possession, chemistry, passing, defense and, most importantly, scoring. Middletown simply did not allow Platt to have any offensive success. 

Middletown’s offense, meanwhile, clicked right away. Keshar was able to score in the first 10 minutes of play after he got a nice pass from Butler in the center of the field.

Over the next 30 minutes of play, Platt would barely advance on offense and played on its heels on defense as Middletown dictated the pace.

With 10 minutes left in the half, Middletown extend its lead to 2-0 with another score from Keshar.  

Middletown’s relentless offense turned it up another notch in the second half. Butler, the captain, scored two goals in the first 15 minutes, five minutes apart. Middletown had a big 4-0 lead with 35 minutes left to play. 

Eight minutes later, it was Rigano’s chance to shine. The senior scored his first goal of the game after he single-handedly marched 30 yards downfield to set himself up with a nice one-on-one with goalie Nicholas Link.

Four minutes later, Rigano scored another goal off of an assist from Alex Foligno.

“We need to get our offense going, making sure we’re working our wings properly, getting the ball downfield,” said Cheney. “And communication: Our communication is one of our biggest flaws and that’s something we have to get better on.”

Link had a solid game defending for the Panthers despite the loss, and Cheney is looking forward to a full season of 16 games after the abbreviated season of 2020.

“We’re super-excited to play 16 games,” the coach said. “It’s nice to travel out of our region again and all the boys are happy to be back out there on the field again.”

The Panthers remain home to host the East Catholic Eagles on Thursday at 3:45 p.m. 

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