Forfeit win and troublesome loss
by Than Acuff
It was another rough weekend for the West Elk soccer u19 boys team as their opponent never showed up on Saturday and they suffered at the feet of the Montrose Avalanche on Sunday, losing 6-1.
The team was slated to face OCSA soccer club on Saturday but as game time approached, it became obvious their opponent would not be making the game.
With the team all dressed up with no one to play, the coaches put together an impromptu scrimmage for the players and families in attendance and to continue working on certain aspects of the game.
“Obviously it’s a disappointment when a team doesn’t show up,” says player Dylan Eaton. “But it was nice to still get a scrimmage in and just have fun.”
They returned to Rainbow field on Sunday, May 6 to face the Montrose Avalanche. Following a brutal loss to New Castle the week before, West Elk hoped to adjust their game to face a similarly talented Montrose team.
Unfortunately, a slow start led to a barrage from Montrose as the Avalanche threaded passes right down the middle of the field to set up open looks on net. They finished on two chances in the opening 10 minutes of the game and following a brilliant save from West Elk keeper Slater Weil, Montrose scored again in the 23rd minute.
A heaping tablespoon of salt was then poured into the open wound on West Elk as another Avalanche attack led to an own goal, giving Montrose a 4-0 lead at halftime.
“It was chaos. We let the first two goals intimidate us and we were a step behind from there,” says Eaton. “We started lunging, not playing composed, and we let intimidation break that down.”
West Elk appeared to tighten the reins at midfield and proceeded to start pressing into the attacking third as tighter marks at midfield led to counterattack opportunities. Their effort eventually led to a penalty kick and Carlos Franco converted to shed a little light onto the West Elk side.
“The team definitely pulled it together and was more composed,” says Eaton. “We were able to get the other team fired up and lose their grip for a little, which created more scoring opportunities for us.”
Fifteen minutes later though, Montrose took advantage of loose marking and over-committed defending to knock in two more goals in a span of five minutes, putting the game officially out of reach.
“They did play very composed most of the time and seemed to know each other very well, knowing where they were going to be and trusting each other,” explains Eaton. “I think that is something we can learn from as a team.”
West Elk will hit the road this weekend as they travel to face New Castle once again and look to turn the tides on their season.
“I think the main thing is the leaders of the team need to emphasize not getting intimidated,” says Eaton. “We may not be at our opponents’ level yet, but there’s no need to lose by five or six goals. The games can definitely be more neck-and-neck and that’s something I think we can pull through in the second half of the season.”