Box score from the Moffat County High School boys varsity soccer team’s game Tuesday against Glenwood Springs High School at Loudy-Simpson Park:
(Team — 1st half — 2nd half — final)
• Moffat County — 3 — 1 — 4
• Glenwood — 1 — 2 — 3
MCHS leading scorers:
(Name — goals)
• Alex Perez — 3
• Maury Mirante — 1
When it comes to the Moffat County High School boys varsity soccer team, health makes all the difference, head coach Rusty Cox said.
Cox’s philosophy was proven accurate Tuesday as the Bulldogs defeated Glenwood Springs High School, 4-3, at Loudy-Simpson Park.
The MCHS victory came just 10 days after the Bulldogs lost 3-1 at Glenwood, a game in which the team was down multiple players due to injury and sickness.
“All our players were healthy and we had everyone back,” Cox said after the win. “Glenwood is a very good team and they never stop and you can never count them out, but I think we have proven that when we are healthy, we can play with anyone.”
The Bulldogs (5-5-2 overall, 4-3-1 Western Slope League) scored the first goal of the game halfway through the first half when senior Jorge Gonzalez set up junior Alex Perez with a kick from the corner to the front of the net.
Gonzalez and Perez weren’t done with the scoreboard.
With just under 11 minutes left in the first half, Gonzalez saved a ball from going out of bounds in Glenwood territory, and sent it to fellow senior Jonathan Pando who found Perez again in front of the net to put MCHS up 2-0.
Less than a minute later, Gonzalez again assisted Perez on goal to give the Bulldogs a 3-0 lead.
“I usually look in the penalty area and Alex is usually there,” Gonzalez said. “If I get him the ball, I just expect him to finish it off.”
Gonzalez said having everyone healthy made a “big difference.”
“Our passing was on, our centers got in and we just played consistently,” he said. “Having all the players back gave us an extra boost and we played a good game.”
The Demons (7-5-2 overall, 3-5-1 WSL) scored in the last two minutes of the first half and again early in the second half to pull within a goal.
Gonzalez said the Bulldogs went into defensive mode to start the second half.
“We kept clearing it and not letting anyone through,” he said. “I think our speed was a big factor and our defenders kept making plays.”
However, Cox said he gave his team a warning at halftime to never let down.
“I didn’t want them to play any differently,” he said. “We had to keep working as hard or harder with the lead because (Glenwood) had nothing to lose down 3-1. When your opponent is in that situation, that is when they are most dangerous.”
Senior Maury Mirante paid attention to Cox’s advice as he pushed the ball after the Demons’ second goal and put it in the back of the net when the ball rebounded off the Glenwood goalie, giving the Bulldogs a 4-2 lead.
Glenwood’s final goal came in the last few seconds of the game.
“When we got the lead, the guys knew Glenwood would start to push hard and they rolled back to help the defenders,” Cox said. “I always tell them they have to make some decisions on the field themselves, and they did that and it allowed us to win.”
Heading into the match-up against Glenwood, the Bulldogs had lost two straight, threatening a chance at the playoffs.
As MCHS prepares to host Palisade High School on Saturday, Gonzalez said none of the players would quit working for the playoffs.
“We have to keep looking to make the playoffs and keep going,” he said. “If we all stay healthy, we have a shot, so we have to give it our all.”
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