After a scoreless first half that did not feature any significant goal scoring opportunities for either side, the New Brunswick High School boys soccer team opened the second half a little bit more aggressive on its attacking side against Sayreville.
And the aggressiveness paid off for the Zebras.
Junior midfielder Jose Torres buried a goal less than two minutes into the second half to break the scoreless tie and New Brunswick added a late insurance goal in defeating Sayreville 2-0 in the Greater Middlesex Conference White Division rivalry.
“I always tell them, ‘If you finish the first half scoreless, the first 15 minutes in the second half, you’ve got to hit it hard — that’s a pivotal point,’ ” first-year New Brunswick coach Solomon Charley said. “It works for them and you know what, kudos.”
The intensity and passion Charley gave off to his team at the half paid off, as the players took to his message.
“It was actually pretty intense, but we talked it out and saw our mistakes so we came out in the second half and played hard, tried to score (early) so the game can be easier for us instead of being complicated as the minutes go by,” said senior forward and captain Omar Garcia.
New Brunswick (3-3-1) held on to its tight 1-0 lead and continued to stay aggressive, but found itself down a man with 13:52 left to play.
That was when one New Brunswick player lost his cool at on official and received a red card, as the Zebras had to play the rest of the way a man down.
Sayreville (3-4-1) had a golden opportunity to tie the game with 7:33 left with a direct kick right outside the 18-yard box, but New Brunswick defended it well and 10 seconds later connected on a critical insurance goal as Omar Garcia fed junior Scott Ortega for a breakaway score.
“That was a good breakaway,” Charley said. “We practice moving the ball, that’s one thing I always (stress) — move the ball around. Omar’s a good runner with the ball, he moved the ball well to Scott. They did what you’re supposed to do and I’m proud of my boys.”
Sophomore keeper Roberto Fajardo finished with eight saves for New Brunswick.
Sayreville’s Connor Drabik finished with six saves for the Bombers, who were without head coach Nick Cifelli for the game as assistant Joe Slavik carried the head coaching reins for the day.
For Charley and his New Brunswick squad, they carried forth their intentions, which were to get the win.
“I’m excited for them because I said, ‘you know what, you have to win this game today. I’m not going to lose and we didn’t come here to lose — we came here to win,’ ” Charley said. “I’m glad they found something to find that niche about winning and they got it.”