Soccer: Roaring Fork blanks Aspen
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
ASPEN – As she walked down to the field Tuesday, Aspen High athletic director Carol Sams stole a quick glance at the scoreboard before turning to Junior Sutherland.
“We haven’t scored yet. What’s going on?” she asked the boys soccer coach.
“You can’t score if you don’t have the ball,” Sutherland replied.
The Skiers were reduced to spectators for much of the first half Tuesday as visiting Roaring Fork controlled possession and the match. Aspen gained some traction down the stretch – at least until torrential rains soaked the pitch and hindered play – but could not overcome an early one-goal deficit, dropping its second straight.
After scoring 10 goals in their first two matches, the Skiers (2-2) have found the back of the net just once in their last 160 minutes of play.
“We’re obviously playing against better quality teams,” Sutherland said. “We’re still missing three starters, and the kids are just not comfortable yet.”
The Rams had no such problems. One week after giving valley rival Basalt all it could handle in a 3-2 loss, Roaring Fork was the aggressor from the outset Tuesday. Short, crisp passing helped the Rams flood the Aspen zone and generate scores of shots on net.
Misael Ramos made his count. The sophomore found himself all alone in the box midway through the opening half and fired a laser past the outstretched gloves of Aspen goalkeeper Maret Schwab.
“I put him up top because he’s so calm with the ball,” Roaring Fork head coach Aaron Anderson said. “He opened up toward the goal and was wide open. He has a great shot.”
The Rams squandered multiple chances to pad their lead in the waning minutes of the first half. The close calls continued in the second; two shots bounded off the crossbar in a two-minute stretch soon after the break.
“I think we played pretty well, but we need to finish better,” Anderson said. “I think with time we’ll be able to put it in the goal. This team is young, and we’re still trying to find our identity, but I think things are coming into focus.”
Schwab impressed in his first start in goal, generating a handful of sprawling saves to keep the Skiers close. The senior was filling in for Erik Wehse, who dislocated his shoulder and likely won’t be back in goal until midseason.
“The kids were scared or nervous at first, but in the second half we came out, played better and took it to them a little bit,” Sutherland said. “They’re playing all right. We’ll get there by the second half of the season. That’s when it counts.”
Aspen travels to Vail Mountain School on Saturday.
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Aspen Skiing Co. will delay the opening of Aspen Highlands until Dec. 18 due to lack of a base and scant snow in the forecast.