Moffat County soccer fights through small numbers in losses to Rifle, Glenwood
For the Craig Press
With a limited roster this week, Moffat County High School soccer took the field nonetheless against a pair of fierce opponents.
MCHS took some harsh losses at home Tuesday and Thursday alike, falling 8-0 to Rifle and 10-0 against Glenwood Springs, both 3A/4A Western Slope League foes.
MoCo was scheduled to play in Gunnison Saturday morning, but without enough athletes able to compete, they had to cancel.
By Tuesday, head coach Diego Quezada had just enough players to take on Rifle, though with the lack of substitutes, Bulldogs began tiring quickly.
Windy conditions didn’t help the Bears attacking the Bulldog goal on the south side of the field, while sophomore Brayan Tarango was staying stalwart standing in as keeper.
After more than 20 minutes of even play, Rifle got a perfect opportunity right in front of the box to get on the scoreboard and up 1-0.
With a free kick given them just outside the penalty area, MCHS senior Erick Payan looked to even up the tally, a high shot caught the wind and carried well over the Rifle goal.
Meanwhile, the Bears began seeing Tarango’s propensity for defending long shots and began crashing the goal all the more, scoring on short crosses and rebounds with three more scores 10 minutes after the first goal.
Bulldogs wisely adapted to Rifle’s overeager attack by drawing myriad offsides calls, yet a crossing pass bumped off a chest put it at 5-0 just before halftime.
Payan gained a bloody lip early in the second half but was swiftly back on the field, again 20 minutes went by without either side scoring before Rifle picked up another three goals in the course of 6 minutes.
In the final 10 ticks of the game, a bright spot came, as the Bears gained a penalty kick, which Tarango judged as a low shot to his right, deflecting it expertly.
Senior Adrian Najera was on the field for the full game, an ACL injury from his sophomore season still nagging him.
Najera said he was pleased with Tarango’s performance as goalie, though he would have liked having him as a fellow defenseman.
“He’s doing pretty good for being a recent goalie, but I think we could use him out here more,” Najera said.
In contrast with the Rifle game, the Thursday match with Glenwood saw the Demons waste little time running up the score, their first goal coming 4 minutes into the action.
Apart from a handful of shots by Bulldog Hector Luna, Glenwood was forever on offense, getting the score up to 8-0 at halftime. After the break, the Demons got it to the 10-goal mercy rule to end it entirely within 5 minutes, finishing with a successful free kick that went into the net.
Tarango earned 19 saves against Rifle and 11 against Glenwood.
While he had more players available on the bench Thursday, Quezada still had fewer than he would have liked.
And, whether it was the second of two games or just less energy, the Bulldog coach was frustrated with what he saw as a particularly sluggish start.
“They played better Tuesday with a man down than they did today,” he said. “They need something, I don’t know what it is, but something to wake them up.”
MCHS soccer is next scheduled to host Lake County on Oct. 5 before a pair of weekend road games against Caprock Academy Oct. 7 and Roaring Fork Oct. 8.
At 1-5, it’s been a tough season for all the Bulldogs, though their eldest members want to stay positive and keep working as the schedule keeps going forward.
“We’ve just gotta keep trying to progress. That’s what matters,” Najera said.
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