by Dillon Meehan
The Central Connecticut men’s soccer team beat Vermont (5-3-1) 1-0 Sunday in a physical game that left both sides playing a man down. Ryan Taylor scored the lone goal in the 69th minute after Junior Cordeiro found him inside the six-yard box; it was Taylor’s second this season.
Both teams played with ten men after Blue Devils defender Dan Casey and Catamounts midfielder Carter Lincoln received red cards in the 44th minute for a heated exchange far away from game action. CCSU (4-3) had possession of the ball at midfield but play was stopped as several members of both teams began pushing and shoving each other. The referee called for both teams to go to their benches and then disciplined the players.
CCSU head coach Shaun Green spoke rather highly of Vermont after the game.
“Vermont is a big, strong, and very athletic team,” he said. “They are off to a fantastic start and just had a tough game against Brown. I wouldn’t consider them to be a dirty team, just physical.”
Throughout the first half, both teams were jostling for possession. There were few scoring chances, due to both teams playing tough defense. CCSU tailed Vermont in shots 5-3, and Catamounts goalkeeper Conor Leland only saw one shot on goal, which he saved. The Blue Devils goalkeeper, Josef Abele, made three saves in the first half. Late in the first half, a breakaway goal by CCSU’s Zach Zurita was negated after he was deemed offside.
Once the second half started, the fact that both teams were down to ten men had a major impact on the pace of the game. With the field more open there was plenty of space for the forwards to make their runs, which lead to five Central shots in the second half.
“Having to play the second half with 10 men really opened up the field, because we’re a very fast and athletic team, it was a great advantage,” said Green after the game.
CCSU nearly took the lead when Leland was caught out of position. However, a Catamount defender made a great save, heading the shot away from goal.
After the Catamounts turned the ball over, the Blue Devils took off down the right side of the field and crossed the ball into the box. Leland could only get a hand on the ball and it bounced directly to Cordeiro, who quickly found Taylor right in front of the net for the game-winning goal. Later in the second half Taylor nearly had his second of the game, off of a Cordeiro corner but an offside call once again negated the goal.
Catamounts defender Luke Salmon made several plays both offensively and defensively. Salmon picked up a yellow card in the 74th minute after a hard tackle on Cordeiro, who was making a run on the right side. However, the Blue Devils turned it over and the Catamounts found Salmon who tapped in the equalizer in the 75th minute, but the goal was disallowed due to an offside call.
CCSU took advantage of the open field in the second half to outshoot Vermont 5-4. Due to the pace of the Blue Devils and their attacking play in the second half, the physical Catamounts were called for nine second half fouls to CCSU’s five.
The Blue Devils play away for the next two weeks with games at Hartford on Oct. 1 and Dartmouth on Oct. 7. They open Northeast Conference play at LIU-Brooklyn on Oct. 10. Their next home game is Sunday, Oct. 12 against NEC foe Sacred Heart.