MERIDEN — Gladiator defense prevailed against Wildcat offense as Goodwin Tech shut out Wilcox Tech 3-0 in a CTC boys soccer matchup on Wednesday.
Wilcox fell to 0-4, with this latest loss coming after their captain and best player, Krystian Colbert, injured his left quad in the previous game against Platt Tech.
Without Colbert, the offense stalled.
“He’s been a big part of our team,” head coach Derick Madrid said. “He was an All-State player in his freshman and sophomore year, so he’s a big piece to the puzzle. A lot of guys look up to him and look towards his leadership on and off the field. Not having him in the middle of the field playing center-mid was a big loss.”
Goodwin Tech's first goal came after right back Jacob Johns crossed a perfect ball into the box that connected with central defender Damen Stepien. It was apparent that the Gladiators’ strengths come from their back line.
“Goodwin has some great players at the back,” Madrid said. “Defensively they were solid. They had a good ball on the first goal. It was a good cross, and we just lost our man.”
The game was a back-and-forth affair from the start, with no team containing possession for too long. The Wildcats had several chances to convert, but the Gladiators’ defense stopped them every time.
Goodwin Tech took advantage of the missed opportunities with a second goal by James Orellana-Vicente. It appeared that he was attempting a cross, but the ball continued to curl until it found the right corner of the net.
“There are obviously some things that we’ve got to work on defensively,” Madrid said. “We tried to do something a little bit different and play the ball out of the back, which we did.”
In the second half, Stepien scored his second goal of the game with a beautiful strike from the right side of the penalty box.
Although the game was beginning to get out of reach, Wilcox continued to fight for a goal. Midfielder Joey Schwall had several penetrating dribbles that stopped several Gladiator midfielders in their tracks. However, Wilcox Tech was unable to find the finishing touch.
“We were able to move the ball around and we were able to control the tempo, but we have to work on creativity in the final third,” Madrid said. “That was where we had trouble. We got a little too stagnant.
“We play a 4-3-3, and that’s a formation where you have to be creative,” Madrid continued. “Unfortunately, we weren’t creative enough today, and that is something we need to work on in practice.”
Goodwin started to take control in the final 20 minutes of the game and held on for the win. Madrid expects his team to be ready to play against Grasso Tech on Friday, even if it is without Colbert.
“We got another game to play, and we have to pick our heads up,” Madrid said. “This is a loss. Memory dump, and we go on to the next one.”