Boys soccer: Moffat County knocks off Aspen |

Boys soccer: Moffat County knocks off Aspen

Dale Strode
The Aspen Times
Ulises Silva of Moffat County scores the first of his three goals against Aspen on Thursday afternoon at Aspen School District Stadium.
Jeremy Wallace / The Aspen Times |

Moffat County took its ex-ed trip to Aspen this year.

The Moffat County High School boys soccer team visited Aspen School District Stadium on Thursday afternoon and experienced a hard-fought 4-2 victory over the host Skiers.

Ulises Silva of the Bulldogs had a hat trick to lead Moffat County past Aspen in the Skiers’ first game since they returned from a full week of experiential education — scattered all across the country.

Micajah Prescott added a second-half penalty kick goal for the Bulldogs, who improved to 5-3-1 overall, 2-1-0 in the Western Slope League.

The Skiers, who trailed 2-1 at halftime, barged into the second half with the tying goal on an extended passing exchange. Zach Storm advanced the ball out of the Aspen defensive zone to Harry Kahn, who kicked the ball ahead to a streaking Jorge Esparza for Aspen’s second goal.

The Skiers’ first goal had come on a Moffat County own goal on a defensive misplay less than five minutes into the game.

The Bulldogs went up 3-2 on a penalty kick midway through the second half by Prescott after the Skiers had been called for holding a Moffat County player in front of the goal.

Silva, on a left-footed curling shot, scored his third and Moffat County’s fourth goal in extended injury time, prompted by a number of injury stoppages in the second half.

“We knew what we needed to do,” Moffat County coach Harry Tripp said. “We knew (the Skiers) would be tough. It took all 13-14 of us.”

He said the Bulldogs changed their formation after the two teams played to a 3-3 tie in Craig earlier this year.

Moffat County used an unorthodox 4-1-4-1 formation with Silva at the point of the attack.

“We wanted to stack the middle. It’s so big here, we wanted to win the middle,” Tripp said, adding that the Bulldogs tried to take advantage of Aspen mistakes.

“We tried to capitalize on their mistakes … a bad pass, a bad header,” Tripp said. “This was a huge win … huge win.”

Aspen head coach Dave Francis said the Skiers came back from ex-ed and trained hard all week.

“But it’s difficult to lose a competitive team for 10 days,” Francis said, adding that the Skiers can compete with any team in Class 3A if they believe in themselves and execute.

“But that belief switches off for periods of games, and we give up silly goals. It’s our own mistakes that are beating us,” Francis said.

He said the Skiers knew Moffat County would try rapid counterattacks with Silva.

“But it took two goals for us to realize,” the Aspen coach said, adding that the Skiers’ second-half performance was much better than the first half.

“We have some very good players. But for whatever reason, it is not coming together on the field for these guys, and they’ve struggled,” Francis said. “It’s a knock in their confidence when they go a goal or two down.”

Plus, he said, the Skiers need to finish at the offensive end.

“We’ve got to put our chances away,” Francis said.

Charlie Van Allen played in goal for the Skiers on Thursday.

Daniel Moore was in goal for Moffat County.

The Skiers (2-4-1 overall, 0-1-0 in league) will return to their home field Saturday for an 11 a.m. showdown against rival Basalt (4-5-1 overall, 2-0-1 in league).