Escobars lead Devils to 6-3 victory
Vail, CO Colorado
GYPSUM, Colorado ” The three Escobar brothers on the Eagle Valley soccer team aren’t the biggest guys in the world, but each packs a punch on the pitch.
Each one took a turn in the spotlight Thursday afternoon in Gypsum, helping lead the Devils to a 6-3 victory over Rifle. The win combined with Glenwood Springs’ 2-1 victory over Steamboat Springs vaulted the Devils into a tie for first place with the Demons in the Slope Standings.
“To me this is the funnest game we’ve played all year,” Eagle Valley coach Jason Rittmiller said. “(Rifle) played a good game. They played a clean game. They played as well as they could, and we played as well as we could. It was a lot of fun.”
Five different Eagle Valley (7-1, 4-1) players scored in the win, but it was an Escobar who put the Devils ahead first. After a number of Eagle Valley chances were turned away by Rifle goalkeeper Omar Talingo, freshman Kevin Escobar found the back of the net in the ninth minute off a crossing pass.
Nester and Marco got their chances to shine in the second half. In the 55th minute, Nester ” also a freshman ” drilled the ball past Talingo to give Eagle Valley a 3-1 advantage. The played mirrored Kevin’s goal. Each score was set up by a beautiful crossing pass, the second one from teammate Gonzalo Gomez.
“The goal by Nester was great,” Rittmiller said. “He just wanted the ball to go in, and it happened.”
The next Eagle Valley goal was thanks in large part to Marco Escobar. The junior made a perfect pass right to the waiting foot of David Shea, who deposited the ball for a 4-1 lead.
“It was a perfect pass,” Shea said. “It was a really good ball.”
Like in most games this season, the Escobars were in the right spot at the right time on Thursday. It’s not just luck either. It’s easy to see the Escobars know their soccer.
“I’ve been playing with (my brothers) my whole life, but never on a real team,” Marco said. “I guess it’s fun.”
Misleading final score
Despite winning by a comfortable 6-3 margin, there were some anxious moments for the Eagle Valley soccer team Thursday. Rifle tied the game 1-1 in the second half when Jose Salazar scored a breakaway goal in the 50th minute.
Salazar’s shot served as a wake-up call for the Devils. Barely a minute later, Cesar Castillo was fouled in the box, giving Eagle Valley a penalty kick. Castillo drilled the shot into the upper-left corner of the net to make it 2-1. The goal gives Castillo 22 goals in eight games this season.
Rifle wasn’t done, even with Eagle Valley holding a 4-1 lead. A Pablo Salgado header cut the deficit to 4-2. Hector Ruiz added Rifle’s third goal of the game on a shot from well outside the box.
“(Rifle’s) offense was one the stronger ones we’ve seen,” Rittmiller said. “It was a good test to push them a littler harder. Toward the end, we were switching up positions a little bit to let people play something new. That opened up a couple of holes. It taught (us) a lot at the same time.”
Rifle’s talented offense still wasn’t enough with the way Eagle Valley was clicking. David Shea stretched the lead to 5-2 with a left-footed kick into the net. Later, Dominic Gora headed the ball past Talingo for the last goal of the game off a nice feed from Castillo.
If other players besides Castillo can put pressure on opposing defenses, it could be huge for Eagle Valley’s chances later in the season.
“Every one can score on our team, even our defense,” Shea said. “Everybody is used to just giving the ball to Cesar because we used to not have anyone else that could score. Every one is a good team player. Every one is passing the ball.”
Eagle Valley hosts Moffat County on Tuesday.
Sports Writer Ian Smith can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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