Johnny Landa, a Moffat County High School senior, follows through with his kick Sept. 2 at Loudy-Simpson Park. The MCHS boys varsity soccer team bounced back from a loss to Grand Junction Central High School in the season opener by defeating Roaring Fork High School, 5-2, on Thursday on the road.

Photo by Joshua Gordon

Johnny Landa, a Moffat County High School senior, follows through with his kick Sept. 2 at Loudy-Simpson Park. The MCHS boys varsity soccer team bounced back from a loss to Grand Junction Central High School in the season opener by defeating Roaring Fork High School, 5-2, on Thursday on the road.

MCHS boys soccer team scores five in victory over Roaring Fork

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Box score from the Moffat County High School boys varsity soccer team’s game Thursday at Roaring Fork High School:

(Team — 1st half — 2nd half — final)

• Moffat County — 3 — 2 — 5

• Roaring Fork — 2 — 0 — 2

MCHS leading scorers:

(Name — goals)

• Alex Perez — 3

• Jonathan Pando — 1

• Alan Flores — 1

Moffat County High School boys varsity soccer players knew they would need to make a few adjustments following a season-opening loss to Grand Junction Central High School.

Better passing and communication and tough defense from the midfielders were on head coach Rusty Cox’s short list before Thursday’s game at Roaring Fork High School.

When all facets came together, Cox said, it resulted in a 5-2 road victory for the Bulldogs (1-1 overall, 0-0 Western Slope League).

“We played a lot better as a team,” he said Friday. “We had some mistakes against (Grand Junction Central), but we were able to pass better and all the players stepped up when needed.

“Communication was the big difference in this game because the talking on the field helps us move the ball.”

In the first minute of play, senior Jonathan Pando scored to put the Bulldogs up, 1-0.

But, the MCHS defense stumbled out of the gates, allowing Roaring Fork to take a 2-1 lead.

The team’s offense, however, was in mid-season form, with juniors Alex Perez and Alan Flores each scoring a goal to head into the break with MCHS leading, 3-2.

Cox said the defense had to tweak a few things to hold Roaring Fork off in the second half.

“We made just a few little mistakes and gave up two easy goals,” he said. “But, we had the midfielders help the defense out and we shut them out in the second half.”

Perez scored two more times in the second half to close the game out.

Like the Grand Junction Central game, Cox said he was cautious when substituting younger players, hoping to avoid having too many inexperienced players on the field at once.

The result, however, meant fatigue played a factor.

“I want to get the younger guys playing time, but I have to do it in a way they can learn,” Cox said. “They are learning and they are seeing how things are done in a varsity game.”

While Perez took control of the offense, Cox said the defensive effort was team-wide.

“It wasn’t just a one-man show (Thursday),” he said. “It was really a team effort and it was that collective effort that helped us win.”

The Bulldogs play Grand Junction High School at 1 p.m. today at Loudy-Simpson Park.

The Tigers played to a 1-1 tie against the Bulldogs’ WSL foe Glenwood Springs High School earlier in the season.

Cox said the game against Grand Junction should be a good barometer for how his team will fare in league play when it begins next week.

“We haven’t played a team yet who has played a Western Slope team, so Grand Junction should show us where we stand right now,” he said. “It’s going to be a tough season with a lot of good teams, so we are expecting an uphill battle against everyone.”

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