Craig In a tight soccer game, one mistake or one great play leading to a good opportunity can be the difference in the game.
Moffat County learned the mistake lesson the hard way Saturday in Craig, as a slight defensive miscue cost it a goal and at least a tie. Hosting Vail Mountain School at Woodbury Sports Complex, the Bulldogs lost, 2-1. They now are 0-5-1 this season while Vail Mountain is 6-3.
In a tightly contested game, the small plays stuck out the most. Vail Mountain got on the board first on a goal from midfielder Garret Cerny. At the 24-minute mark of the first half, a cross came through the Moffat County penalty area untouched, and Cerny got his head on the ball to poke it past Bulldogs keeper Alex Arrellano.
Moffat County answered 10 minutes later, when Nestor Arrellano made a long wrong down the left sideline, stole the ball away from the Vail defender and was fouled after dribbling into the box. Defender Jesus Duarte came up to take the ensuing penalty kick and confidently struck it into the corner of the net to tie the game at one.
The teams went into the half tied, with Moffat County feeling good about the way it played.
“I think we played really good today,” said Brenden Spencer. “It’s still the middle of the season, and we’ve got guys stepping up. Our defense is really stepping up, and a lot of our younger players are doing well.”
Still, that play wasn’t enough to secure a win. Midway through the second half, Vail Mountain forward Trevor Sheldon got behind the Moffat County defense and was in a footrace for the ball with Alex Arrellano. They arrived at almost the same time, but Sheldon got enough of the ball for it to trickle the final couple of yards into the goal.
The Bulldogs defense had been trying to execute an offside trap, but not every defender stepped up and held the same line at the right moment, giving Sheldon a free run at goal.
“That was just a miscommunication by our team’s defense,” Spencer said. “We didn’t quite get everybody stepping at the same point, so he wasn’t offside.”
In the final 15 minutes of the game, Moffat County dominated the ball and kept pressure on Vail Mountain but couldn’t find an equalizing goal. It made the defensive mishap loom larger when the final whistle sounded.
“One little mistake got us today,” coach Harry Tripp said. “Last game, a defensive mistake gave (Grand Valley) a tie, and here, it cost us the game-winning goal. That’s tough, but they played well today, and it just didn’t happen for us.”
The Vail game was the beginning of a five-game home stand for the Bulldogs. They host Basalt on Saturday, followed by three more games at Woodbury in the following week.
Nate Waggenspack can be reached at 970-875-1795 or nwaggenspack@CraigDailyPress.com