Eagle Valley rolls in season opening win
Vail, CO Colorado
GYPSUM, Colorado ” Under attack all day long, the Middle Park defense finally cracked. Cesar Castillo and the Eagle Valley soccer team took full advantage.
The Devils scored five second-half goals, and cruised to a 6-0 victory in their first game of the season at the Gypsum Sports Complex on Thursday. The record-setting Castillo also started his year in impressive fashion with four goals.
“We weren’t finishing in the first half,” Castillo said. “We stepped up in the second half and did what we had to do.”
Right from the opening whistle, Eagle Valley put pressure on Middle Park. The Devils controlled possession for much of the opening frame, pushing the action into the Panthers’ half of the field. Middle Park dodged more than few Eagle Valley scoring chances, but its luck didn’t last.
Castillo drilled the ball into the back of the net in the 20th minute for the Devils first goal of the season. Middle Park marked Castillo at all times Thursday, but it didn’t seem to affect the senior.
“They shut Cesar down (at the start),” Eagle Valley coach Jason Rittmiller said. “That’s what they are supposed to do. But it was a matter of everyone working together. When they found out how good Marco (Escobar) was, they had to put more pressure on him and that opened things up for Cesar.”
The second half featured more of the same from Castillo. He scored his second goal on a penalty kick. The third came off a nifty move where Castillo headed the ball to himself to get around a defender before easily depositing the ball past the keeper.
The finishing touches on Castillo’s day came when he booted a goal from well outside the box to make it 6-0. Coming into this season, the forward already held the Eagle Valley all-time scoring record.
Escobar brothers shine
Suiting up in Eagle Valley white, black and red for the first time, Marco Escobar, Kevin Escobar and Nester Escobar proved to be huge additions. Before moving to Gypsum, Marco played for Battle Mountain, but each brother took turns displaying their talents for the Devils during the win.
Playing the midfield, Marco flashed nimble footwork. The junior constantly dribbled around defenders and found an open teammate.
“Marco did his job really well,” Rittmiller said. “He was killer. He was one of those guys we are blessed to have.”
Even with his stellar play, Marco might be listening to his little brothers gloat for a couple of days. Both twins scored goals on near identical shots for Eagle Valley.
Kevin started the Escobar barrage with a pretty rainbow shot over the outstretched hands of the keeper to make it 3-0. Nester lofted a similar goal-scoring shot from the opposite side of the goal.
“They were both just excellent shots,” Rittmiller said. “You can’t do that unless you are good. You don’t accidentally hit that kind of shot.”
Defense does its part
Eagle Valley keeper Trevor Grayson wouldn’t have broke a sweat Thursday if not for the 90-degree weather. Middle Park recorded only two shots on goal in the game ” compared to 38 for the Devils.
The Eagle Valley defense got an assist from its ball-hawking offense, but Steve White, Gonzalo Gomez, Luis Corral and Israel Gomez also did their part. Every time Middle Park tried to clear the ball out of its zone, the Devils’ backs snared the ball and kept it in scoring territory. The constant pressure from Eagle Valley was too much for the Panthers.
Eagle Valley (1-0) plays at Palisade on Tuesday.
Sports Writer Ian Smith can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.