Gore Rangers shock Spartans, 3-1
EAST VAIL – It was tough to pick out a Gore Ranger who stood out above the rest on Saturday. And that’s just what Vail Mountain coach Bob Bandoni loved about his team’s 3-1 victory over Salida.”The team is beginning to think as one mind,” said Bandoni. “It was a complete team effort – you could really see the synergy today.”Vail Mountain took advantage of Salida errors to go up 3-0 in the second half.”They saw their opportunities and hit all three goals from deep,” said Salida coach Ben Oswald.On the first goal, Vail Mountain’s Tony Ryerson collected an errant pass by Salida and slammed a low shot from outside the box into the right corner of the Salida net.The second Gore Rangers’ goal came off the foot of Tucker Shelden. From 10 yards outside the box, Shelden intercepted a Salida pass and then rifled a bending ball that curved from the right to left side of the goal, causing the Salida goalkeeper to fall over backwards.Sheldon connected the Salida errors to Vail Mountain’s tight play during the first half.”That goal came from putting pressure on them,” Shelden said. “All the pressure finally made them break.”On the first two goals, Salida had possession deep in its own end with Vail Mountain strikers positioned just outside the Salida box.”We started the season with our players automatically dropping and giving the opponent too much space in their defensive half of the field,” Bandoni said “So now, we’re working on putting higher pressure, but patient pressure. We were forcing them to play the ball more and make flat passes.”A full 80 minutesWhen the last whistle blew, the ball was in the Salida end. Even after taking a 3-0 lead, Vail Mountain continued to maintain ball possession and exert offensive pressure.”We were just trying to remain focused, not forcing anything,” said Vail Mountain’s Max Avery.There were very few instances when the young Vail Mountain squad booted the ball downfield or when a player was out of position.”You could see how tight we were in the midfield, and our patience in the midfield,” Bandoni said. “It was connecting the concepts between the backs, the midfield, and the strikers. There are a lot of variables in this game that allow us to transcend youth.”Defending 3A state champions, Salida played well aside from the three errors. In the first half, however, the Spartans were unable to record quality scoring chances.”We didn’t get dangerous in the first half at all,” Oswald said. “We were satisfied with possession instead of penetration.”In the scoreless first half, both teams played a high tempo game, using quality passing and strategic play.”Our strikers were much more exciting to watch today,” Bandoni said.TurfedAside from Salida’s goal by Tyler Keidel, they were limited to few shots on net. Of the 17 shots the Spartans attempted, only five landed on net. The Gore Rangers defense kept the Spartans from attacking the middle of the field, and when needed, Vail Mountain’s Jordy Coffey was in the right position to make the save.”What we have been working on is playing more as a unit defensively,” Bandoni said.Avery was solid in the midfield all day, marking Salida players and breaking up passes.”I knew they were going to be good, but I know that playing on our home field that we would have a chance to do something,” Avery said.Oswald wasn’t as fond of the turf ath the Bob as the Gore Rangers were.”It was surprising how difficult it was for us to play at times,” Oswald said. “I have a couple of big time magicians with the ball, and those guys were struggling to get the ball on their foot.”Oswald said that his team also underestimated Vail Mountain.”We let guys loose in the middle part of the field thinking they were not going to be dangerous, but they punished us.”Up next, the Gore Rangers will play Aspen at The Bob on Tuesday at 4 p.m. Bandoni is happy to continue play against solid opposition.”It’s important for our development that we play a very good opponent because then the game looks like what we are training,” Bandoni said.Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 608, or email@example.com.Vail, Colorado
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