Although the Fairfield Ludlowe boys soccer team retained the Swedish Cup for the fifth consecutive year, the Falcons believe they may have let one slip away on Monday night.
And the sentiment across Fairfield is that Warde may have stolen a point.
Whatever the feeling, Charlie Aragon's goal with just 6:01 remaining gave the Mustangs an improbable 3-3 tie with the Falcons on Monday at Taft Field.
Although the Falcons and Mustangs tied for the fifth straight year, Ludlowe keeps the Swedish Cup -- the trophy awarded to the victorious boys soccer team in their annual meeting -- because it won the last decision between the squads in 2007.
"We had them where we wanted them," Ludlowe coach Kevin O'Hara said. "The boys were playing well."
But Alex Landau scored in the 63rd minute cutting Ludlowe's advantage to 3-2. Aragon then potted a header in the 74th -- off a brilliant cross by Peter Stymacks -- earning the Mustangs the unlikely draw.
"It was a really good cross," Aragon said. "And I just took the chance and finished it."
Warde's Matt Petroccio scored Warde's other goal and Mustangs keeper Steven Bartlett stopped two shots.
"I think the most important thing is that Warde displayed a lot of character and resiliency and a lot of heart," Warde coach Justin Ottavio said. "Coming back from a 3-1 deficit ... speaks volumes about what we want to accomplish this year."
Ludlowe keeper Ryan Arrigo made four saves. The Falcons (4-4-2) need just six points -- two wins -- to qualify for the Class LL state playoffs.
"I thought we had it at 3-1," Gimand said. "We started playing complacent, a little defensive, too defensive probably."
Landau and Arrigon scored just 12 minutes apart, with Landau netting the first on a sensational individual effort. The senior outworked Ludlowe's defense and beat Arrigo, cutting the Falcons lead to 3-2.
"He is tenacious," Ottavio said of Landau. "He's exceptionally fast, once he gets his mind focused and established, he's hard to stop."
Aragon's goal tied the score with just six minutes left. Ryan Gavey found Stymacks with a stellar long ball, then Stymacks' cross found Aragon's head. The senior flicked his header by Arrigo, tying the score.
"I just felt excited that we were finally tied," Aragon said. "It seemed like we were going to lose."
The Falcons took control from the opening kickoff, when Fromme took the ball, ran to the top of the box then blasted a right-footed shot giving Ludlowe a 1-0 edge just 12 seconds into the game.
"In all my years of doing this I don't think we've ever scored a goal that fast," O'Hara said. "We told the kids to be aggressive ... we caught a break and (Fromme) went in and buried it."
"It was a bit surreal," Gimand said. "I didn't see it coming at all."
Ludlowe gained momentum from the early goal and pressed the Warde cage, but could not beat Bartlett. The Mustangs began to tilt the field, then Petroccio tied the score in the 26th minute.
Warde's Stuart Peters sent a deep cross that found the senior midfielder. Petroccio split the Ludlowe defense and beat Arrigo to tie the game at 1.
Ludlowe scored twice in the second half's first 11 minutes, to take command. Gimand received a throw-in from Eric Winjum, then stole the ball from the Warde defense and placed a perfect shot over Bartlett's shoulder, making it 2-1 Ludlowe.
"I kind of just tried to get it on target and thankfully it went in," Gimand said.
"Tobi has got to be one of the most composed kids I've ever coached here," O'Hara said. "When he gets an opportunity at the top of the box ... he's going to do it a lot."
Kreitler was the benefactor of Bartlett's misplay in the 51st minute. Warde's keeper bobbled Erik Stahle's free kick and the senior forward deposited the easy rebound.
"I thought (Ludlowe) played exceptionally well," Ottavio said. "I thought second balls hurt us. We didn't execute defensively sound techniques ... they were able to usurp the loose balls and capitalize."
Fairfield Warde 1 2-- 3
Fairfield Ludlowe 1 2-- 3
Records-- FW: 3-4-2; FL: 4-4-2; Goals-- FW: Matt Petroccio, Alex Landau, Charlie Aragon; FL: Jason Fromme, Tobias Gimand, Henry Kreitler; Assists-- FW: Stuart Peters, Peter Stymacks; FL: Erik Stahle; Goalies-- FW: Steven Bartlett (2 saves); FL: Ryan Arrigo (4 saves); Shots-- FW 10, FL 8.