Pitch perfect: Hugo Soto & Battle Mountain Huskies make it 3-0 on season
GRAND JUNCTION — Is the final goal in a 5-1 soccer game really that big?
Battle Mountain soccer knocked off Palisade by the aforementioned count Thursday night at Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction to make it 3-0 in 2013. But Huskies senior Hugo Soto gets Man of the Match for that fifth goal.
Just before Soto turned 5 when he was living in Mexico, he was in an auto accident. It was so bad that his doctors felt they needed to amputate his left leg.
Soto recovered, walks with a bit of limp, has understandable balance issues once in a while, but, most importantly, still loves soccer.
When Battle Mountain’s coaching staff meets with each of its varsity players at the beginning of practice, the standard first question asked is “What do you think you can bring to this team?”
“He said, ‘inspiration,’” Huskies head coach David Cope said. “He never complains. In every fitness session, he doesn’t finish up there with (Roberto) Diaz, but he doesn’t beg out. Sometimes, his leg doesn’t support him, but he loves the game.”
And so, Soto found himself on the pitch in Grand Junction in the second half at the top of the box when Andrew Herrera made a cut along the end line. Herrera sent it right out to Soto and he one-timed it into the net for a very meaningful fifth goal of the evening.
“Yeah, it was my first touch,” Soto said. “Andrew passed it back and I just saw the goal in front of me. I didn’t think. I just tried to shoot.”
And that would be Soto’s first goal in soccer, period. He never scored for Battle Mountain’s JV or in any other form of organized soccer.
The Huskies on the field and on the bench, accordingly, went nuts.
“They feel really good about me being able to score,” Soto said. “They did their best to get me (the ball) on the field. Thanks a lot to them and my coach. I can’t play without them.”
That was the capper on what was a considerably less-dramatic evening for Battle Mountain. (Less drama was the order of the day after the Huskies needed two comebacks and two overtimes to beat Steamboat Springs on Tuesday night.)
Senior Alexis Robles had the first two for the Huskies with assists going to Jesus Romero and Roberto Diaz. Robles and Romero getting in on Battle Mountain’s scoring — the latter scored his team’s fourth goal, as well — constitutes glad tidings. Three games into the season, the Huskies are getting goals from people not named Roberto Diaz.
“Apart from Diaz, we didn’t bring back many guys who had scoring experience,” Cope said. “Our forwards, to start the season, had two varsity goals between them. (Aaron) Milligan had the equalizer against Steamboat. We’ve got two from Pedro (Hernandez against Montrose), two tonight from Robles. Jesus had the opening assist and a goal. We’re pleased with our offensive productivity,”
Palisade halved the lead, but that’s when you go to the big guys. Diaz scored, on a helper from Brandon Osorio, in the 38th minute restoring order.
The Huskies (3-0 overall, 2-0 in the Slope) are next in action Thursday at home against Glenwood Springs. Tuesday’s game at Delta has been rescheduled for Sept. 14.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 and firstname.lastname@example.org.