Life after the biggest soccer game ever
Battle Mountain defeated Eagle Valley, 2-1, Tuesday in the biggest soccer game in the history everything.
OK, first off, Tuesday’s game was not the be-all and end-all of the 2008 Western Slope soccer season. Yes, Battle Mountain is in a better position for having won the game, but there is a ton of soccer left. Battle Mountain is 3-0 in the league with nine to play in the circuit, while Eagle Valley is 1-1 with 10 left. It’s not exactly the moment to calculate a magic number for clinching.
The two teams meet again Oct. 18 in Eagle-Vail, coincidentally on the last day of the season. I guarantee you these two teams will have developed dramatically by that point.
There is also the matter that the Huskies and Devils are not the only two teams competing for the league title. In the build-up to Tuesday’s game, a lot of people forgot about Steamboat Springs.
Yes, Battle Mountain has won the Slope the last four years, but the Sailors are the crew who has been the one constant in this ever-changing league. Rob Bohlmann’s squad is 5-0 and 3-0 so far this year and has a combined four games against the Huskies and Devils in the next month.
Battle Mountain knows this well. The Huskies last loss in the league was to Steamboat in 2006. The Sailors and Devils split last year. If both teams can handle Steamboat ” and that’s a gi-normous if ” then we can start talking about Oct. 18.
Other thoughts on Tuesday’s game:
– Experience won out. Kudos to Battle Mountain here. This was not a game the Huskies would have won last year. David Cope’s crew would have folded last year when scored upon. There’s been a lot of talk about the fact that this is the year Eagle Valley snags Battle Mountain, and it still may happen.
What people have overlooked is that Battle Mountain’s improved during the offseason as well. The major names of last year’s senior class were talented, but lacking leadership. This year’s seniors and junior have their respective heads screwed on straight, and it makes a difference.
This showed after Cesar Castillo scored. Battle Mountain kept going within its system and churned out two goals for the win.
– Eagle Valley did not stay in system nor keep its composure, and that cost the Devils the game. This is completely understandable. Eagle Valley simply hasn’t been in a big regular-season game before, so you’ve got to chalk that up as a learning experience.
The moment Molina scored to tie the game, the Devils stopped playing their system. For most of the game, they kept their shape effectively, working the ball outside to the flanks and back in, but Eagle Valley reverted to boot ball.
Yes, Eagle Valley had the wind and goalie Trevor Grayson could reach Castillo with one kick, but Battle Mountain had three guys back waiting for him. Those aren’t good odds.
As for the cards, no excuses. It is a rule of sports ” don’t retaliate; the second man in always gets caught, and he did. As for Marco Escobar’s red, there are just certain things you can’t say to a ref.
Going back to our Steamboat warning, it took the Huskies years to get over the hump with the Sailors. They had moments like these in the process. Just like the Devils felt they won last year’s 1-1 tie in Gypsum, the 2002 Huskies felt the same with a 2-2 draw against the Sailors at Phelan Field.
For the history majors in the audience, Steamboat won the first game between the two teams in 2003, and it felt like a step back for Battle Mountain ” just as it does right now for Eagle Valley ” before the Huskies finally won, 2-0, later that year.
– Castillo remains one of the best players I’ve seen here in my 12 years. The Huskies had Marco Ordono on him and he did a great job on Ces. Battle Mountain’s defense helped Ordono magnificently with the likes of Connor Tedstrom (best game yet as a leader), Kalen Burnett (all 90 minutes, nice) and David Gonzalez (no longer a yellow-card magnet?).
The Huskies threw everything at him, and Castillo still scores. Wow.
– That having been said, somebody ” anybody ” else needs to stand up and be a threat for Eagle Valley. Rarely does one goal, which Castillo seemingly always gets at a minimum, do it. If Eagle Valley wants to make a run at league or in the playoffs, there needs to be more scoring diversity.
– Speaking of which, Battle Mountain’s Davey DeChant (eight goals), Sergio Sifuentes (four goals) and Brian Morales (four goals) didn’t score. It was Molina. That’s what makes the Huskies scary.
– So what’s next?
Battle Mountain, we interrupt this regularly-scheduled column to remind you that you are not God’s gift to soccer. Since you’re at Montrose today, that’s a helpful reminder, because you played like that last year against the aforementioned Indians.
Seriously, today’s game and Saturday’s game at Cheyenne Mountain are going to go a long way toward postseason seeding, so there’s no time to rest.
As for the Devils, my bet is that we’ve got one ticked-off Eagle Valley soccer team. (If we didn’t, we’d have a real problem.) Look for Eagle Valley to take it out on Moffat Saturday. Ouch.
Thinking more long-term, if Eagle Valley learns from this, watch out, Battle Mountain. If the Devils do, the biggest soccer game in the history of everything, part II, on Oct. 18 is going to be a lot of fun.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.