Moffat soccer makes a statement in 5-1 win against Steamboat | SteamboatToday.com

Moffat soccer makes a statement in 5-1 win against Steamboat

Luke Graham

Steamboat Springs High School senior Alex Bashan dribbles the ball down the field during Thursday’s game against Moffat County High School. Moffat County won, 5-1.





Steamboat Springs High School senior Alex Bashan dribbles the ball down the field during Thursday's game against Moffat County High School. Moffat County won, 5-1.
Matt Stensland

— Although it's still early in the season, Moffat County made a league-wide statement Thursday in Steamboat Springs, downing its U.S. Highway 40 rival, 5-1.

But the game wasn't necessarily as much about the score as it was the way Moffat County dominated.

Simply put, the Bulldogs — who have been on the ugly end of the rivalry, especially when playing in Steamboat — grabbed possession and momentum from the first whistle and seemingly never let it slip away.

"Everywhere I go, it's always been, 'Oh, it's just Moffat County,'" Bulldogs coach Rusty Cox said. "But when we all get on the same page, we're unstoppable."

It appeared that way Thurs­day, particularly during the second half.

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After a scoreless first half was dotted without either side seeing a golden opportunity, the Bulldogs (5-0-0 overall, 1-0 in the Western Slope League) got the first big break of the game. Steamboat's Brandon Marr got tangled up with a slew of Bulldog players in the box, and the referee's call went Moffat County's way.

Bulldogs senior Tracy Men­doza made the penalty kick count. After his initial blast was stopped by Steamboat keeper Joey Haight, Mendoza pounced on his rebound and scored his 13th goal in five games to make it 1-0.

"I guess I came in too hard," Marr said. "I never go into a game wanting to hurt someone. You get unlucky. (Thursday) was a big disappointment for us."

Alex Perez added two nifty goals in the 53rd and 71st minutes to make it 3-0.

Steamboat's Mac Noel added some intrigue with a goal in the 73rd minute to make it 3-1, but Alan Flores notched the back-breaker in the 74th minute and Jonathan Pando added the flair with a blast from midfield that found the back of the net in the 79th minute.

"After that first goal, we thought Steamboat would get down," Flores said. "That first goal, we said we have to go, go, go towards goal. Now, we have to keep going. It's just the first five games. It doesn't mean anything."

Now, the two teams have to regroup with most of the Western Slope League schedule still ahead. For Moffat — which now sits tied atop the league with Battle Mountain — the next game is at 1 p.m. Saturday at home against Eagle Valley. Steamboat (3-1-1, 1-1) plays at noon Saturday against rival Battle Mountain.

"It's more of a psychological adjustment," Steamboat coach Rob Bohlmann said. "We're on the road against Battle Mountain. We have to settle in and play with more composure."

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