Aspen tops Vail in overtime soccer thriller
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
ASPEN – Alex Ferreira’s frustration was obvious.
One could see it in the Aspen sophomore’s gestures during Tuesday’s game with visiting Vail Mountain School – from the head shaking to the frequent throwing of arms in the air. One could hear it in his voice as he lamented the Skiers’ unproductive play while conversing with Skiers head soccer coach Junior Sutherland during breaks in the action.
“It’ll come,” the coach repeatedly told his forward. “It’ll come.”
Ferreira’s opportunity came in the second overtime. He did not miss.
After a teammate’s shot was blocked, Ferreira controlled the deflection and booted a strong shot past Gore Rangers goalkeeper William Sterett and into the bottom corner of the net, sending Aspen (4-2-1) home a 2-1 winner.
“Oh my god. So angry, so frustrating,” Ferreira said of the game. “But I finally got what I worked for.”
It took nearly 87 minutes – and came after scores of missed opportunities. So many that Sutherland joked that he lost count.
“We created a lot of chances and played great soccer until the final third [of the field],” the coach said. “This should have been a game where a lot of goals were scored.”
Neither team found the net until the 68th minute. The Skiers, who controlled the pace for much of a game spent largely on VMS’ side of the pitch, appeared primed to break things open on multiple occasions.
In the 52nd minute, Ferreira shook off a defender on a run up the near sideline, then lined a perfect cross into the box; there was no Aspen player within 20 yards.
“It doesn’t get much better than that. Come on,” Sutherland shouted to his players.
Soon after, Erick Perez had a one-on-one with Sterett, who alertly and boldly sprinted out of the net, slid into Perez and knocked the ball out of play.
Later, the Skiers had one scoring chance mere feet from the goal line sail through the football uprights, then another off the head of Foster Gross drill the far post.
Aspen finally caught a break when a Gore Rangers player was whistled for a hand ball in the box. Skiers senior McCall Kauss beat Sterett on the ensuing penalty kick to break the deadlock.
Finally, a moment to exhale for the home sideline.
It did not last long.
With less than one minute remaining in regulation, VMS’ Aaron Lewis chased down a loose ball, turned and flicked a desperation shot on net from outside the box that caught Aspen goalkeeper Jessis Andrade off guard, squaring the match once more.
“I think the most important thing to say is that they responded,” Gore Rangers coach Slade Cogswell said of his team, which started five freshmen because of injuries. “They came out and played their plan throughout the game. … It was a defensive battle.”
Added Sutherland: “[It would’ve been] horrible. Terrible. A tie wouldn’t have been fair as much possession as we had. We definitely controlled the game.”
A tie appeared likely, however, after neither team could produce a goal during the first of two five-minute overtimes.
The home team’s fortunes changed quickly in the second overtime, however, when Ferreira had the ball at his feet near the far post.
“I passed to Foster and he missed, then the ball came right back to me,” Ferreira said. “I kicked it into the opposite corner.
“We dominated this game. We should’ve won.”
The Skiers host Colorado Rocky Mountain School at 11 a.m. Saturday.
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Perhaps, Radamus’ brief moment on top was a preview of coming attractions. He hopes so. Radamus certainly got the season off to a great start by finishing 27th in the opener.