Aspen offense shows up too late in season-opening loss to Vail Mountain | AspenTimes.com

Aspen offense shows up too late in season-opening loss to Vail Mountain

Had the offense come around sooner in the game, the outcome may have been different. As it was, the Aspen High School boys soccer team had to settle for a 1-0 loss against visiting Vail Mountain School on Wednesday in its season opener on the AHS athletic field.

"It took us a long time to find our way in the game today. There were definitely some nerves in the beginning," Aspen coach Dave Francis said. "I tried to rotate players as much as I could and chat with them and gradually as the game went by they started to sort of figure things out and find their shape and put them under pressure and start to win the ball high up. They started to create some chances."

Those chances never resulted in a goal, however, putting the Skiers in a 0-1 hole to start the season. Vail Mountain, preseason No. 8 in Class 3A, opened its season Saturday with a 3-0 loss at Battle Mountain, which is ranked preseason No. 2 in 4A.

The only goal of Wednesday's game came about 12 minutes in, when Vail Mountain's Wyatt Hall snuck one past AHS goalie Jake Bassi for the 1-0 lead.

"That early goal was more from team disorganization at that point. They weren't finding their positions," Francis said. "After that first goal, I don't think we really gave up too much — a couple of speculative shots. Other than that, it was a fairly well-contained game."

Before the first half ended, VMS was awarded a penalty kick and an opportunity to extend its lead. Instead, in a show of sportsmanship, Hall purposely missed as neither team agreed with the call.

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Bassi and the AHS defense were strong after that lone goal, but it took too long for the offense to find itself. The Skiers best chances to score came late in the second half, spearheaded by Edgar Ortiz, who sent a couple of shots off the crossbar before time ran out on them.

"Honestly, I think these boys are probably a little disappointed. I think they feel they've got a much better game in them," Francis said. "If that was our best out there today, then it would be different. But that's us at about 50 percent. I think we got a lot more to offer. So I'm looking forward to those guys finding it."

It won't get any easier for Aspen, as its next game will be Friday at Jefferson Academy. The Jaguars are ranked preseason No. 2 in 3A and were the state runner-up last season, losing to Kent Denver in the final.

acolbert@aspentimes.com