Longhorns rout Rams in soccer opener
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
BASALT – When asked to describe his team’s play Thursday, Basalt head soccer coach John McDermott repeated the same word multiple times.
“They’re fast,” he said, flashing a smile. “Really fast.”
That speed helped the Longhorns turn their season-opening bout with rival Roaring Fork into a lopsided affair. Basalt pulled ahead in the 13th minute, scored three more times in the opening half and cruised to a 5-1 victory.
“It’s a beautiful game they play,” McDermott said afterward. “Some of these kids are here for three [more] years.”
The young Longhorns struggled to link passes and move the ball during the early going Thursday. Their fortunes changed in an instant, however, when Dylan Ahasic corralled a loose ball and sprinted up the right sideline in the 13th minute. He launched a cross into a crowd that found the feet of Willy Salamanca; the sophomore turned and alertly passed to wide-open teammate Santiago Marciani, who ripped a high liner past Rams goalkeeper Neiby Vargas.
About 13 minutes later, Brandon Henriquez streaked up the middle of the pitch, drew a defender and passed off to a trailing Sebastian Liuzzi, who converted on a powerful blast to stretch the lead to two.
“I’m so proud of the whole team and all their efforts. … That’s why there’s 11 guys on the field,” Liuzzi said.
“Four goals in [27 minutes] is not bad.”
Henriquez joined in the scoring barrage two minutes later, somehow tucking a low shot from left of the net into the far corner.
Teammate Carlos Palomares controlled a ball in the box during a corner kick and scored about 20 seconds before halftime to give the Longhorns a sizable cushion.
“We’ve been here before with Basalt,” Roaring Fork head coach John Ackerman said. “This gives us a real clear picture of where we need [to improve].
“The last half was actually better than the first. That’s always a good sign. Nobody fell apart.”
The Rams appeared to increase their aggressiveness during a physical second half in which the teams traded elbows and verbal jabs on multiple occasions. Roaring Fork managed to find the net in the 63rd minute when Saulito Vega converted a penalty kick.
Unfortunately for the visitors, the goal came 12 minutes after Henriquez scored for a second time.
“This is a little taste of what we can achieve,” Liuzzi said. “As we play, we get better. It’s only a matter of time.”
Basalt is off until Thursday, when it will host Coal Ridge at 4 p.m. in a showdown of two of 3A Region 3’s top squads.
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The third weekend of play begins Thursday and runs through Sunday with the Bantam B, Squirt A and Squirt B divisions. Because of safety protocols, spectators aren’t allowed.