LOVELAND -- Welcome to Front Range soccer.
The Mountain View High School soccer team sent that message to Moffat County during their 6-1 win in the first round of the state playoffs Tuesday.
"They were a little stronger and a little faster," Moffat coach Jeff Hammond said. "We had our opportunities but we didn't convert when it mattered."
The Mountain Lions' team speed was something that the Bulldogs were aware of going into the game. Prepared or not, the visitors were often a half step behind.
"They had three or four really fast guys," Hammond said. "We have one or two and the difference showed sometimes."
Of the six goals that the Mountain Lions scored, only two were scored while the game was going full speed. The other four goals were scored by two free kicks and two penalty kicks.
"Speed set up the set plays because Moffat tried to compensate by fouling," Mountain View coach Shannon Clark said. "We score a lot off of set plays."
The Lions opened up the scoring with a penalty kick 15 minutes into the game. The penalty came when Bulldog goalie Malcolm Hillewaert tackled a player from behind in the box. The Bulldog sideline disagreed with the call, saying the keeper had played the ball. It was the start of things to come as the away team disagreed with the referees consistently throughout the contest.
The Lions struck again with four minutes remaining in the half when Brandon Vigil's free kick, a low line drive from five feet outside of the box, went under the Moffat wall and past Hillewaert.
"I had less than a split second to react to that one," Hillewaert told his team at halftime.
A minute later the No. 10 seed opened up a 3-0 lead when Matt Bosch put a loose ball in the box past Hillewaert.
"We made two mistakes and they capitalized on them," Moffat senior Hugo Quezada said referring to the penalty kick and the free kick. "When you are playing a good team you can't give them those chances because it is hard to come back against that kind of team."
Alberto Olivares gave the Bulldogs a chance to get back into the game early in the second half. The junior hit a free kick just outside the box that went over the Lions' wall and into the left corner of the goal. With 22 minutes left in the contest, the Bulldogs were still in it.
Then the game got ugly.
In the final 20 minutes, yellow and red cards were handed out like it was Christmas and the cards said "Season's Greetings." Eight cards were handed out in the final quarter of the game. Six of them went to Moffat County players.
"They got in our heads and we played bad," senior Juan Valencia-Lopez said.
"We started retaliating when they would foul."
The Bulldogs gave up three goals in five minutes. Bosch scored 25 minutes in, Will Paterson scored on a penalty kick 28 minutes in and Ben Beadle headed a free kick past Hillewaert in the 30th minute.
"The Moffat frustration level toward the end made the score seem a lot more lopsided than the game was," Clark said. "They are a tenacious group, with some talented players and until that point, I thought they played us pretty even."
Overall Clark said he thought his team won the game in the midfield.
"Moffat really had a hard time transitioning to offense," he said. "I think our midfield controlled play and made the difference."
"Mountain View deserves the win because they are a talented team," Hammond said. "I just wish there were more consistency with officials throughout the state so we could know what to expect."
Fouls were close to even in the game with Moffat being called for 23 and Mountain View for 18. But it didn't seem like that to the visitors.
"The referees didn't help us much," said Quezada, who received a red card with 10 minutes remaining.
"But we quit playing when they frustrated us and that shouldn't have happened."
Despite the loss, the Bulldogs' attitudes weren't horrible afterward.
"We made it to the playoffs," senior Rowan DuBois said to his teammates. "That's something to be proud of."
Hammond agreed that his team shouldn't hang its head after becoming the second Moffat team to make the post season in 15 years.
"These guys should feel good about their play this year," he said. "It was a great experience."