STAMFORD -- One of the lone holdovers from last season's Stamford boys soccer team, sweeper Marc Guirand is establishing himself as one of the premier defenders in the FCIAC.
Guirand's presence in the back was apparent throughout Stamford's 1-0 win over Fairfield Warde Wednesday afternoon.
The Stamford (6-0-1) defense allowed Warde (3-2-2) just three shots on goal, none of which were quality chances, but it was Guirand in the middle who was the biggest obstacle to the Mustangs offense, routinely forcing them to attack from the flanks.
Stamford Coach Mario Caminiti said Guirand's play is an inspiration to some of the younger players and has been the key to his team's success thus far.
"He has been one of our leaders this year," Caminiti said. "He has been with us the last couple of years and this year he is leading by example. I think he is very solid, probably one of the best players in the league and I think without him we would experience more difficulty."
Fairfield coach Justin Ottavio said Guirand creates major problems for teams that want to attack Stamford up the middle of the field.
"Their sweeper is an outstanding player," Ottavio said. "He closes down on the ball very quickly and is assertive and anything down the middle on Stamford is very challenging. We tried to make adjustments and we just weren't effective making adjustments. We were trying to draw him out and play to the flanks but we kept gravitating back to the middle which was not productive for us today."
Stamford earned a direct kick about 20 yards out with less than three minutes left in the first half and Joe Schinella converted, hooking the ball around the wall and clanging home a shot off the right post for the game's only score.
The rest of the way it was the defense of Stamford in control.
Guirand says his main objective is to control the flow of play, and he feels the younger players are starting to come around as the season progresses.
"All I am trying to do is control the game and pass it to the outside so we can play nicely as we usually do," Guirand said. "We only returned three starters, so, we have to be practical and realistic as coach has said. I have to work hard every game and as a team I have been getting a lot of help and the underclassmen are improving a lot."
Stamford did not generate many scoring chances themselves, but when they did get near the net, Warde keeper Mikey Kathein was up to task, making 9 saves on the day.
STAMFORD 1, FAIRFIELD WARDE 0
WARDE 0 0--0
STAMFORD 1 0--1
Records: S 6-0-1; FW 3-2-2
Goals: S--Joe Schinella. Goalies: FW--Mikey Kathein (9 saves); S--Jairo Builes (3 saves)