NAUGATUCK — The Naugatuck boys soccer team has always relied on a stout defense, but as the final weeks of the season unfold it’s becoming more evident that the offense will have a lot to say about how far the ‘Hounds will go this season.
The opportunities on offense were there for Naugatuck in a 0-0 tie with Holy Cross on Oct. 9.
“We’ve had our chances,” Naugatuck head coach Ryan Kinne said after the Holy Cross game. “It all comes down to someone stepping up and finishing those chances.”
“We had a few shots that went wide, and then we hit the post and I don’t know how that didn’t go in,” Kinne added. “So it’s not from a lack of trying, it’s just we need to be able to finish better.”
Naugatuck certainly had a defensive presence against Holy Cross. Junior David Green made three saves in the net for the ‘Hounds. Alex Manasoiu, Gustavo Medina and Alex Teixeira stood their ground and limited the Crusaders opportunities in the box.
The battle at midfield, led by Jay Barth, Freedie Longo, Jake Corbo and Waseem Aljamal, gave the Greyhounds a presence in Holy Cross’ end of the field, but shots on goal were off the mark or hit point blank into the post.
Offensively, Naugy has the weapons to make it happen. Chris Akinduro scored three goals in a 3-2 win over Kennedy on Oct. 5. Tommy Martins, Kareem Morris and Nelson Lavoura are also more than capable of separating from defenders.
“We just need to do a better job with our possessions,” Kinne said. “Sometimes we lack a little composure and lose some of that consistency needed to retain possession, especially down in their end.”
The Greyhounds made the most of their chances in a 4-0 win over Crosby on Friday. Akinduro had another hat trick, and Barth added a goal.
Naugy faced a quick turnaround, and fell to St. Paul, 3-1 on Saturday to drop to 7-3-2 on the season.
Naugatuck will host Ansonia on Monday and play Wilby on Friday before the final two regular season games next week heading into the NVL tournament, which is set to start on Oct. 27.
With the postseason around the corner, Kinne said there are some things the team still needs to sort out.
“There are certain things we need to work on,” he said. “That applies to both sides of the ball. We have struggled with set pieces, and there is always something we can do better.”
Editor’s note: This story has been updated from the version that is published in the Oct. 18 edition of the Citizen’s News to include information on games played after press time.