Greyhounds best rival Seymour, still perfect

SEYMOUR — The latest edition of this rivalry was as meaningful as any but less competitive than most. Marcos Soares scored twice, and Tiago Martins also netted a goal for the Greyhounds as Naugatuck (13-0-1) bested Seymour (7-4-3), 3-1, Monday at DeBarber Field in a game that the visitors controlled from the outset.

After failing to capitalize on several early scoring chances, the Garnet and Grey’s pressure finally showed up on the scoreboard. Thirty yards from the net, senior defender Ali Gadoush landed an arcing chip on the forehead of Martins, who was triple-teamed to the left of the Seymour goal. A sprawling Mike Breault managed to tip Martins’ bid, only to have Soares collect the ball before it ever hit the ground and blast it home for a 1-nil lead in the 20th minute.

Three minutes later, Martins took a pass from Dan Bronko—no longer in goal, with the return of Donato Piroscafo—and showed off his ballhandling skills, splitting two Wildcats defenders and the pipes to give Naugy a 2-0 advantage, which it took into the halftime break.

Almost all of the first-half play occurred in Seymour’s end, and the Greyhounds looked like the superior team by far. At times, the Wildcats appeared to be simply kicking the ball around the field, sending passing attempts that made spectators wonder, “Who was that to?”

Naugatuck, meanwhile, moved the ball with precision and might have scored two or three times more if not for the stout effort of Breault.

“We did have a lot of good chances, but Seymour’s always tough and athletic,” Hounds coach Art Nunes said. “They put their bodies in a position to defend us well. We were able to move a couple of balls, and unfortunately some of the ones that we should have had got away from us.”

After Seymour drew within one on an Alex Lukiv goal early in the second half, Soares nudged Naugatuck’s edge back to two on a pinball like sequence: Nolan Kinne booted a free kick from 35 yards out, Manny Nobre deflected it to Kinne, and the junior forward did the rest.

The last time these squads met was the 2008 Naugatuck Valley League championship game, which the Greyhounds won, 2-0, blemishing Seymour’s previously spotless record. These Cats are not as fearsome as those, but after seeing that they upset Watertown—the only team to tie Naugy so far this season—Friday, Nunes admitted he was worried about this match.

“I was nervous,” he said. “I knew that they’re peaking. They’re getting better as the season has gone on.”

Soares added that getting excited for a game against Seymour is never difficult, even if the stakes don’t seem as high as they often do.

“We got pumped up at the beginning of the game,” he said.

This meeting, the only one between Naugatuck and Seymour during the regular season, was scheduled originally for Oct. 15 but was postponed to Monday because of snow. According to Nunes, waiting 11 days to play the game wasn’t a problem itself, but it did create others.

“It didn’t throw us off on preparation, but it’s now not giving us a chance to prepare [for upcoming games],” he said, after talking with his team for about 10 minutes after the match. “That’s what we were just going over in the huddle. We have a game every day this week except for Friday, and with no time to fix things, that’s why we had a little more of a discussion about what we did right and what we did wrong, and we’ll talk about it more on the ride home.”

That string of four games in a row included a 4-1 win over Ansonia Tuesday at home, and visits to Pomperaug Wednesday and Derby Thursday.