Opportunities are there for Naugatuck

NAUGATUCK — Defense will keep teams competitive, but putting the ball into the back of the net is what will put games into the win column.

The Naugy boys soccer team ran into a bit of a wall last week when it came to finishing opportunities around the net.

Naugatuck got past Sacred Heart, 2-1, last Tuesday. Defensively, the ‘Hounds relied on seniors Yan Silva and Sam Rego and keeper Aren Seeger to keep the Hearts at bay. Senior Matt Carroll and freshman Chris Akindura scored the goals that put Naugy in the win column.

The Greyhounds had their hands full last Friday when they traveled to Ansonia and came away with a scoreless tie. The Greyhounds got six saves in the net from Seeger to keep the Chargers scoreless.

“We are having problems finishing,” Naugatuck head coach Ryan Kinne said. “I think it would be a bigger problem if we weren’t getting the opportunities. Finishing is always something we need to be concerned with. It was an issue at times last year and it has surfaced from time to time this season, as well. I’m confident that we have the guys who can step up and make it happen on offense for us.”

Naugatuck is loaded with talent, and that talent has experience. Junior Tommy Martins leads the team in goals this season and senior Vinicius Knupp is also a big threat in the offense.

“Tommy is one of our key players on offense but he’s taking on a different role this year,” Kinne said. “Last year, he was one of our lead strikers. But this year he is more of a playmaker at center mid.”

Seniors Christian Jacobi and Jared McNeil along with junior Jake Corbo bring experience to a lineup that knows how to get the job done. But finishing will be the key to success.

“Obviously to win games you need to score goals,” Kinne said. “Confidence is a big factor. Sometimes frustration sets in and that only makes the problem worse. We can’t start pressing to make it happen.”

“We just need to relax and play our game and let the goals come naturally,” Kinne added. “The more we stress about it the harder it will be to overcome.”

The Greyhounds finished their opportunities on Tuesday in a 4-0 win over Crosby. Carroll scored twice for Naugatuck (7-1-1). Martins and Jay Barth each had a goal

Naugatuck has received a spark on offense this season from younger guys like Akindura.

“We knew coming in that he was an exceptional player and he has been a strong addition to what we are doing on offense,” Kinne said about Akindura. “He’s scored two goals so far and has shown the ability to really stretch out the defense.”

The Greyhounds will conclude the week on Friday at home against Waterbury Career.