LOUDONVILLE, N.Y. – Paolino Curto won’t soon forget his 20th birthday. The junior striker came off the bench to score the game-winning goal in the 80th minute to lead Siena Soccer past Fairfield 2-1 in the MAAC opener for both teams at Siena Turf Field.
Sophomore captain J.C. Obregon also scored for the Saints (3-5-2, 1-0) which won their conference lid-lifter for the fourth time in the past five seasons. Junior goalkeeper Aleksa Radosavljevic made four saves for Siena which both earned its first win over Fairfield (2-4-2, 0-1) in six years, while also defeating the Stags in Loudonville for the first time since 2003.
Obregon opened the scoring in the 19th minute. Freshman Eamonn Conway fed classmate Conor McGlynn who sent the ball through down the left to a breaking Obregon who finished across inside the far right post.
Siena maintained their advantage over Fairfield for most of the remainder of the first half in a tightly contested matchup as expected between the teams projected to finish fifth and fourth respectively according to the MAAC Preseason Coaches’ Poll. However with just three minutes remaining in the stanza, the Stags drew even on Ben Wignall’s fourth marker of the season.
The match would remain tied until deep into the contest when Curto struck for the decisive tally. A cross from the left into the box was batted around by both teams before squirting free to the right. Curto beat the keeper in space to the loose ball and roofed home his first goal of the season with 10:28 remaining in regulation as the Saints went on to open their 28th MAAC season victorious.
Siena held an 11-8 edge in shots, while Fairfield harbored a 5-1 margin in corners. Joe Martin made three saves for the Stags.
The Saints continue conference play when they return to action next Wednesday at Niagara for a 3 p.m. kickoff.