High five win for Norwalk
By BOB BIRGE
TRUMBULL — The Norwalk boys’ soccer team is a work in progress.
Even though the Bears blitzed St. Joseph with four second-half goals Saturday en route to a 5-0 victory, coach Chris Laughton spoke of the need to be more consistent.
Nicolas Samperez tallied twice and Santiago Muriel, Nacho Navarro and Kevin Joslyn each scored once for Norwalk (2-0), which already has eight goals this season.
However, six of those goals have come in the second half as the Bears have started slowly in each of their two games. They scored two secondhalf goals in a season-opening 3-1 win over Greenwich.
“I thought we just came out flat in the first half,” Laughton said. “We didn’t play as well as we’re capable of playing. It took us awhile to get going. It’s a learning experience. They got to come ready to play every single day. No matter who you play in the FCIAC, every team is going to give you a good challenge. Today was a friendly reminder of that.” St. Joseph, which opened with a 3-2 win over McMahon, dropped to 1-1.
Goalkeeper Svet Kozak recorded two saves for Norwalk, which finished with a 19-10 edge in shots. With the lopsided score, freshman Tyler Dalton took over for Kozak with 21 minutes left in the second half and was tested, having to make five saves to preserve the shutout.
Tim Keckler registered eight saves for the Cadets, including six in the first half to keep St. Joseph in the game.
While Norwalk enjoyed a territorial edge, the Bears only managed a 1-0 halftime lead on Samperez’s goal with 13:21 remaining.
St. Joseph had two free kicks in the final four minutes of the opening half. Kozak made a save on the first attempt and the second sailed wide.
Otherwise, the Cadets didn’t get much going offensively in the first half but the Bears couldn’t finish their chances.
“We have to learn how to come out from the start and try to keep that same momentum we had in the second half to have better outcomes in games,” Samperez said. “(At halftime) we talked about how we have to clean it up on the back.”
Once the Bears found their groove, they had too much firepower for the Cadets. In the second half, Norwalk put on a clinic with possession and crisp passing. St. Joseph, appearing a step slow, had trouble keeping up with the quicker Bears, although the Cadets did mount some pressure in the final minutes in an attempt to break the shutout.
Norwalk’s effort paid off as Muriel’s shot from 20 yards carried over the head of Keckler and curled inside the far post for a 2-0 lead with 32:55 left in the game. “We didn’t come out ready,” said Muriel, who scored twice against Greenwich and now has three goals on the young season.
“We underestimated them. We had a much better second half. The first half, we didn’t come out strong. We didn’t play our best.”
The Bears poured it on as Navarro, Joslyn and Samperez scored in a span of just over five minutes to extend the cushion to 5-0 with 23:28 remaining.
According to Laughton, the three quick goals showed how dangerous the Bears can be. Joslyn and Samperez scored less than a minute apart.
“We talked about coming out with more urgency (in the second half),” Laughton said. “I thought we created more chances in the second half but we just have to put together a full game, an 80-minute game. That’s going to come. I know we’ll get there.”
Muriel, Carolos Teysseire and Navarro also picked up assists for Norwalk, which is back in action on Tuesday at Danbury (4pm).
© The Hour Newspaper 2012