PLAINVILLE - It took two 40-minute halves and two overtime periods, but neither the Plainville boys soccer team or Farmington could take advantage of its opportunities Tuesday afternoon.
The Blue Devils’ Michael Torres scored the equalizing goal with less than two minutes remaining in the first half as Plainville and the Indians finished in a 1-1 draw.
“We took them to double over time and although we weren’t looking for a tie,” Blue Devils head coach Tim Brown said, “we wanted to win and we hoped we could, but we feel very happy with a point.”
Plainville knew ahead of time Tuesday’s game was going to be a tough one. Farmington had lost just twice this season entering the match and early on, the Blue Devils had some difficulties. The Indians’ Blake Rutenberg put the first goal in the back of the net with 10:37 left in the first half.
“We were well aware of how terrific the Farmington team is and we knew that we had to do something a little bit different,” Brown said. “We’re a team that typically tries to possess and goes forward, to try and get a point or two out of this game we had to go in with a defensive posture.”
Torres, however, responded with the equalizing goal nine minutes later at the 1:22 mark and from that point on, the game became a defensive match.
Plainville managed just five shots in the second half, the Indians seven.
“We invited them in and held our ground,” said Brown of his team’s defense. “We frustrated them all day, it was pretty evident, and I was very proud of the work rate, the effort shown by every single guy. We played on the front foot all night long and we just stuck to the game plan.”
What helped the Blue Devils the most, Brown said, was Plainville played with strateg, using two defensive midfielders in front of the backfield.
“We played for the first time with four in the back and two defensive midfielders in front of the net because we knew they were going to come down on us,” Brown said. “We knew they were a very deep team, so we we’re going to over taxi the defense with a little support.”
But a big contributor to the defensive effort was goalkeeper Sergio Zaaldivar.
“He was absolutely fabulous tonight,” Brown said. “I asked him, ‘Is this a game where this can be your signature result for us?’ That was our goal and I challenged him. He deserved this tonight; he does a lot of the dirty work. He saves games for us, he doesn’t just save balls, he saves games.”
Zaldivar saved 14 shots on goal Tuesday afternoon.
“At first we all had the mentality that we were going to lose,” Zaldivar said. “But then we had some players that said, even if we lose we have to play with everything we have. The result showed the guys played really hard, and I’m proud of my team.”
Shelby Iava can be reached at (860) 801-5096 or firstname.lastname@example.org