The Moffat County boys soccer team’s Western Slope League (WSL) season begins next Tuesday when the Bulldogs host Coal Ridge in Craig. The Bulldogs are packing in as much competition as possible versus higher up WSL teams to get ready.
They scrimmaged Steamboat Springs Friday and will open the season Thursday in a game at Grand Junction Central. It was scheduled as a junior varsity game, but Moffat County doesn’t have a JV team for boys soccer, so every member of the team will likely travel and play.
What Central will bring to the match is an unknown, but the result won’t count toward the 3A WSL standings regardless, so head coach Rusty Cox plans on treating it as another game to mess with his lineups and see how players respond.
“I haven’t really decided what we’re going to run (Thursday),” Cox said. “We’d like to get all our boys in to let them get a run and feel for the game, but a lot of it depends on who is healthy and what (Central) are doing.”
That was the formula versus Steamboat, when Cox used his top line in the first half when the Bulldogs trailed just 1-0, before moving players around and surrendering more goals. Overall, he felt it was a productive scrimmage.
“We had a few minor breakdowns was really it,” he said. “We played good, being down by one at half. We’re still a young team, and Steamboat is one of the better teams on the Western Slope.”
Junior Garrett Ferguson said the Bulldogs need to get more aggressive against Central based on the way they lost contested balls against Steamboat.
“We weren’t winning the ball out of the air,” Ferguson said. “So on corner kicks, goal kicks and just long passes coming in from the air, we’ve got to get those. If we win more, we have possession and the other team can’t score.”
The Bulldogs also still have some conditioning work to do, Ferguson said, and have several players with minor injuries holding them back. His coach agreed.
“They got chewed out over that, we had a lot of 50-50 balls that we didn’t win,” Cox said. “And I want to see an aggressive midfield, attacking the whole game. But if we keep playing like we played against Steamboat, there’s no reason we can’t be a playoff team.”
Nate Waggenspack can be reached at 970-875-1795 or firstname.lastname@example.org