In a game where the Red dominated play in the first half, but were unable to finish their chances, Fairfield junior Vasilis Androutsus’ second-half double strike was enough to cancel out an own goal by the home team.
The Red started out brightly in the first half, and with a revamped lineup due to several injuries, four players including freshman midfielder Jarid Siegel and sophomore goalkeeper Jason Reed earned their first starts of the season and immediately went on the attack, out-shooting the Stags 6-1 in the period.
“We were outstanding. It was [our] best half of the season,” said head coach Bryan Scales. “Fairfield couldn’t get a sniff of the game at that point.”
With fluid passing, strong heading, and effort, the first 45 minutes were almost perfect, but the Red were unable to find the back of the net.
Senior defender Scott Palguta had two strong chances through headers off corner kicks in the first half, but his first attempt sailed over the crossbar, while his second was saved by Fairfield goalkeeper Andrew Frankel.
The second half was a different story however, as Fairfield started to place a stranglehold on the game. During the halftime interval, Scales said that the Stags made adjustments as his team was not able to continue its high level of play in the second period.
“In the second half, they pressured us all over the field and we didn’t handle it well at all,” Scales said.
With their level of play lifted in the second half, Fairfield struck first through Androutsus in the 52nd minute.
Androutsus was fed a long ball and raced down the field before beating Reed with a shot in the lower left corner to give the Stags a 1-0 lead. The Red has allowed the first goal in each of its four games this season.
The Red got a break in the 82nd minute. Searching for a teammate, Siegel delivered a cross into the penalty box, which bounced off a Fairfield defender and into the goal.
But 16 seconds after the own goal, a lack of concentration led to more disappointment for the Red.
After the restart, Stags midfielder Danny Atwell raced through the center of the field before finding Androutsus, who headed in a ball past Reed into the net.
Androutsus’ goal topped off a dominating half for the Stags, who had six shots. Meanwhile, the Red failed to get a shot off in the second half.
“We had so many times in the second half when we switched ourselves off and took a break and that’s something we have to make sure we do a better job of [watching] as we move forward,” Scales said.
Scales and his team will host American on Sunday afternoon at Berman Field, which will be their fifth game in 16 days.
Although last night’s loss was difficult to take, Scales said that his team needs to build from what they learned against Fairfield and try to refocus for American.
“As difficult as it is and as heartbreaking as it is, we have to find some way to resurrect ourselves and get ready for our next game on Sunday,” Scales said.
Archived article by Brian Tsao
Sun Senior Editor