The first half of Tuesday's soccer game at Loudy Simpson Park was a step in the right direction for the Moffat County High School Bulldogs. Too bad the second half was two steps backwards.
The Steamboat Springs Sailors came out on fire in the second half Tuesday afternoon, scoring the first of their three second-half goals in the opening minute.
Miguel Lomeli took a pass in traffic and sent the ball to the upper left hand corner from 5 yards out, to put the Sailors up, 1-0.
Considering that the Bulldogs put the Sailors on their heels in the first half, Moffat County coach Jeff Hammond was disappointed that his team couldn't put two good halves together.
"Part of the issue is that the team is still young, and they haven't learned how to funnel their emotions and intensity," Hammond said. "They're up, and then they're down."
The Bulldogs remained up much of the first half, putting Steamboat in a position it hadn't been in.
"We played uninspired in the first half," Sailors head coach Rob Bohlmann said.
The first half had a lot of solid scoring opportunities for each team, but neither could convert. A direct kick by Alvara Rodriquez was just shy of the net for Moffat County.
With 17 minutes left in the first half, Moffat County established a well-controlled offensive game, pushing the Sailors to fight for possession.
A frustrated Bohlmann was yelling to his team from the sideline, "Don't get overzealous."
The Sailors played with little inspiration and did not communicate well on the field, getting beat to the ball and, at times, getting tangled up with one another.
"It was a frustrating first half," said David Comeau, a Steamboat senior. "We didn't have any sort of rhythm."
Hammond was impressed with his team's first half of soccer and said he tried a new formation he had been thinking about for the past few years.
"The team called it my 'epiphany,'" Hammond said.
The formation was working well for the Bulldogs -- until fatigue set in.
"When the kids got tired, they got out of position," Hammond said.
At the half, the score was 0-0, but Hammond, who knew the Sailors would come out with intensity, tried to inspire his team to put an entire game together.
"One goal is all it takes," Hammond said.
The inspirational speech was not enough for the Bulldogs in the second half. They gave up the first goal to Lomeli and then two more to Comeau.
Comeau scored his first goal at the 64-minute mark.
"I got a cross from the right side, and it went through the goalie's hands," Comeau said.
The Sailors' patience paid off in the second half.
"At half time, we were just trying to regroup," Bohlmann said. "We wanted to come out the second half with more inspiration."
Up 2-0 with 20 minutes left in the half, Comeau knocked in his second goal and turned any hopes for a Bulldog comeback into a dissolving dream.
"It was a very disappointing loss," said Bulldog sophomore Ian Forgay. "All it takes is one defensive breakdown, one lucky shot, and we break down."
The Bulldogs are now 1-5-0 in league play, and the Sailors are 4-1-1 in league play. Moffat County will hit the road for five games, and the Sailors will be at home for their next game.