VMS falls at Basalt, and Bandoni makes his call | VailDaily.com

VMS falls at Basalt, and Bandoni makes his call

Special to the Daily/Jim PaussaVail Mountain's Sean Woods leads the charge down the pitch Thursday in the Gore Rangers' 3-2 loss at Basalt. Despite his team falling to 0-3-1 in the 3A Slope, VMS coach Bob Bandoni thinks his team can run the table in league play.

BASALT ” When the movie about the life and times of Vail Mountain’s Bob Bandoni comes out, Donald Sutherland will play the role.

Yes, Al Pacino would be the more obvious choice, but what the VMS soccer coach said after his team’s disheartening 3-2 loss Thursday at Basalt, making his Gore Rangers winless in their first four league games, is really much more along the lines of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.”

“Our feeling right now is that we can run the table,” Bandoni said.

We’ll give you a few moments to clean up the cereal you just snorted across the table this morning. Yes, we’re talking about Bob Bandoni, the one who lives in Edwards, the one who’s way past psychotic when it comes to his Boston sports teams and the coach who has really never said anything result-oriented about VMS soccer in his life.

“We really feel we can do it,” he said. “We’ve got a couple of adjustments to make, but most of it’s in front of us for the taking. I think this group can find the grit and competitive edge and will make this happen. I think the players feel that way, too. We’re looking forward with the belief that we have another level to reach, and it is within us to do that.”

Now before everyone asks, “Who are you and what have you done with the head of VMS’ upper school?” there are some things to consider.

VMS (1-4-1 overall and 0-3-1 in the 3A Slope) has ironically played its best soccer of the season against Basalt, its stiffest league opponent. The two teams played to a scoreless tie earlier this month at Bandoni (soon-to-be-Sutherland) Alumni Field.

And the disposition of the psyche ” we wanted to get some old-school Bandoni in here ” of the league is very much in flux. For example, Aspen’s beaten Roaring Fork in overtime, and then Basalt promptly stomped on the Skiers, 9-2. Toss in that perennial doormat Colorado Rocky Mountain School beat up-and-coming Coal Ridge and the Prince of Paonia may be on to something.

On the other hand, VMS is in a hole at 0-3-1 in the league and has lost, most disconcertingly, to Roaring Fork last week. But under the category of “What the heck,” the Gore Rangers host Paonia at the friendly confines Saturday at 11 a.m. And if Bandoni really had been captured by space aliens, he would have said sincerely charming things about the heart of the North Fork Valley.

Another close one

Maybe Bandoni’s thinking the law of averages has to turn. VMS was on the wrong end of a one-goal loss for the third-straight time in league play Thursday at Basalt.

After the Longhorns went up, the Gore Rangers’ Tony Ryerson struck for the equalizer. In the second half, midfielder Carder Lamb put VMS ahead 2-1. He struck a direct kick perfectly from 15 yards outside of the box and straight into the right panel.

But just as was the case at Roaring Fork, the Longhorns rallied for two late.

“What’s a little bit frustrating is that we’re still leaving the pitch with a little regret, feeling like opportunities went by us,” Bandoni said. “We feel as though we haven’t been on the field with a team better than we are. At the same time, and this is the nature of this team, we leave hopeful of playing good soccer and continuing to improve in all areas.”

And that thankfully, sounds a whole lot more like Bandoni than Sutherland.

Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 748-2934 or cfreud@vaildaily.com.

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