Jonathan Law edged out by Stratford High
Isaiah Fonseca and Jairo Barrera scored second-half goals to give Stratford High a 2-1 comeback victory over Jonathan Law in a non-league matchup at Penders Field on Monday night.
The Red Devils, who improved to 1-5-2, attempted 36 shots on Law keeper Gabe Salles. A senior, Salles made 10 saves — including a bevy of highlight-reel stops.
Unfortunately for the Lawmen, Stratford’s relentless pressure paid off in the second half with a pair of goals, including Barrera’s game-winning marker at 63:33.
“I thought the kids battled,” Law coach Donato Piselli said. “They played really hard. I’m proud of the effort. It just wasn’t our night.”
Law scored its goal in the second minute of the game, when Antonio Gjuraj knocked a header past Stratford keeper Brett Cody.
On Jon Costa’s corner kick, Gjuraj lost his marker inside the left edge of 18-yard box and looped a header into the back of the net.
The Lawmen (1-5) nearly doubled their advantage on a pair of occasions in the first half. But, quality chances by sophomore Ian Hugo and junior Herbie Pritchard just missed their marks.
“If we added to that first goal, it would’ve been nice,” Piselli said.
The Red Devils began to control play in at the 20-minute mark of the first half.
Junior forwards Juan Erazo and Phinehas Cleary, along with senior midfielders Fonseca and Andrew Rios, sparked Stratford’s offensive charge.
Law’s defense, led by Jucar Lopes, Dean Bibens and Michael Chodziutko, turned back each attack.
Salles came up with two big saves to close the half, denying Cleary out in front, before parrying away Jephthe Jean’s effort off a rebound with 5:51 left.
“There are just so many quality players that were confident on the ball,” Piselli said of the Red Devils. “They always tried to get it to someone facing forward.”
Fonseca netted the equalizer at 47:34.
Breaking in along the left side, he buried a shot into the bottom corner of the net to forge a 1-1 deadlock.
Stratford kept up the torrid pace, until Barrera converted off of an assist from Emmaunel Silva with just under 17 minutes remaining. Silva also notched an assist on Fonseca’s goal.
Gjuraj and Hugo had opportunities down the stretch, but the Red Devils held on to claim their first victory of the season.
“Our kids played with a lot of positivity,” Piselli said. “We created some quality chances.”
Law looked to get back in the win column, when it began a four-game homestand on Tuesday against Lyman Hall (4-2-1).
“I love this group of kids, they are fantastic — each and every one of them,” Piselli said. “I couldn’t ask for anything more. I know they are giving me what they can. We just have to start turning this around and start getting some wins. It’s not for lack of effort, that’s for sure.”
The Lawmen will host West Haven (3-1-2) on Friday at 3:45 p.m.