METUCHEN The win may not have came in a fashion in which it expected, but the Metuchen boys soccer team nonetheless got a victory on Monday afternoon.
The Bulldogs defeated Carteret 1-0 on a goal from Cameron O’Connell in the expiring minutes of the first half. O’Connell scored after Carteret goalie James Hart misplayed an errant shot.
“I saw that the goalie didn’t immediately dive on it, so I kept running and got a goal,” O’Connell said. “It wasn’t exactly the goal I would have imagined.”
It might not have been a sparkling goal, but it all counts the same. The goal gave the Bulldogs momentum going into the second half and came at the most opportune time for coach Ed Albanese’s team.
“It was so important because we have controlled games for the most part but haven’t finished halves the way we want to,” Albanese said. “Psychologically, it was as important as could be.”
Where the offense played well, the defense performed even better. Mike Plunkett and Liam Weeks challenged Carteret attackers while Jack Bradley cleaned everything up in the back end.
The Ramblers played with a lone striker, Moussa Diouf, and sent long passes his way in transition to try to catch the Bulldogs off guard. The Metuchen defensemen did a fantastic job of thwarting the agile and physical Diouf.
“I had one of my center backs sit in front (of Diouf), and I would sit behind him to clean up all the loose ends,” Bradley said. “We’re still trying to find our way, so communication helps solidify everything.”
Albanese lauded the play of his defense, especially against a tough and physically-demanding opponent.
“Our center backs were the MVPs of the game,” Albanese said. “They covered their forward perfectly and were the reason why we won the game.”
Metuchen goalies Kieren Brenneman and Tommy Davis stopped every shot that came their way and combined for the shutout.
So far this season, good communication has kept this Bulldogs team together. They’ve suffered a number of injuries thus far, so remaining vocal on the field helps the ever-changing roster gel.
“It’s huge for us,” O’Connell said. “We need to be on the same page. Jack needs to know when I’m going to make a run so he can send it.”
With the win, Metuchen improves to 4-3 on the season. The game-clinching goal might have been lucky, but, again, they all count the same.
“It wasn’t the win we imagined, but a win’s a win,” O’Connell said.
Staff Writer Daniel LoGiudice: email@example.com