Bulldogs get stuck at red light

Steamboat gains advantage after MCHS penalties

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— Moffat County had plenty of momentum but was short on the breaks.

The Bulldogs' boys soccer team (2-4 in league, 2-6 overall) rolled into Steamboat Springs on Wednesday having won a pair of Western Slope League games and having lost a tight one to league-leading Battle Mountain.

But two Moffat County red-card infractions to start the second half gave the Steamboat offense - primed from a breakthrough 8-0 victory against Palisade on Saturday - all the room it needed to turn a fairly close 2-0 game into another lop-sided, shutout win. With a two-man advantage, Steamboat (3-3-1 in league, 3-5-1 overall) tacked on four more goals to win, 6-0.

"It was really anyone's game before those cards," Moffat County coach Seth Young. "In the first half, I was pretty pleased with how we played. I hate to use it as an excuse, but we weren't used to the speed of the field, and our timing was a little off. Also, it seemed like we started the game a little frustrated."

Steamboat forward Daniel Wright, who scored two goals for the Sailors, explained the close first half as an indication of the Steamboat offense's lack of synchronized combination play passes.

While the Sailors controlled and moved the ball well in a sleeper of a first half, they struggled to create shots in the Bulldogs' defensive zone. Moffat County fullback Jose Valdez made a habit of breaking up Steamboat attacks that sputtered at the top of the penalty box.

"We came out with some really strong D, and those guys hustled like crazy," Young said of the Bulldogs' first-half defense.

Steamboat's Andrew White gift-wrapped a perfect cross to Blake Eddington 10 minutes in, but Moffat County freshman goalkeeper Victor Villa came up with a big point-blank save.

When Josh Fix sent a corner kick to the far side of the Bulldog's goal box 10 minutes later, Villa (who finished with three saves) could not repeat. Kevin Bertrand redirected the pass with a header to put Steamboat up, 1-0.

Steamboat continued the pressure in the second half. Five minutes in, Danilo Farias poked the ball through to Wright, who nailed the shot in off the top crossbar.

Shortly after, a collision be-

tween Moffat County captain Tucker Bilodeau and Fix resulted in red card ejections for both Bilodeau and Moffat junior Ian Forgay.

"We both went up, and the ref thought I had my elbow in front," Bilodeau said. "I thought Steamboat didn't really bring anything at all. It's just that with the red card, being two guys down, is tough. And we just weren't playing like we should have, passing and shooting like we normally do."

Wright converted the ensuing penalty kick. With Moffat only fielding nine players, Steamboat got plenty of open looks at the cage. Bertrand placed a high shot past Villa to go up, 4-0.

But Moffat County kept trapping the Steamboat offense offside and generated a few looks on cage. Farias responded in goal with three second-half saves. In the waning minutes of the game, Sean Hurst scored on a breakaway and Timmy Rabbitt converted on a pass from White to end the game, 6-0.

Moffat County, who will be without five starters, plays at 11 a.m. Saturday at Eagle Valley.

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