Angel Bernal’s late goal leads Glenwood Springs soccer over Montrose, 1-0 |

Angel Bernal’s late goal leads Glenwood Springs soccer over Montrose, 1-0

Glenwood senior forward Angel Bernal skied high in the box to head home the decisive goal with just under 12 minutes remaining Thursday night at Stubler Memorial Field, sending the Demons to a 1-0 win over the visiting Montrose Indians in nonleague action.

The regular season redemption tour continued for the Demons, as Glenwood avenged last season’s loss at Montrose with a win Thursday night. Glenwood opened the regular season with a win over Durango after losing in Durango last season to open up the year.

It certainly wasn’t pretty against Montrose, but the Demons continued to stay focused and play relentless soccer while leaning on a superb defense, ultimately leading to the one chance they needed late, capitalizing for the win.

“I saw a lot of determination and focus, and I saw a mentality that weren’t going to give up a goal,” Wayne Smith, Glenwood’s veteran head coach, said. “It’s reminded me of the way that they played in our playoff run last year. We’ve given up one goal in four games; we’re not scoring many goals, but our defense has been terrific, and we find a way to defend at a high level and get that one goal that we need.”

Prior to Bernal’s heroics, senior captain and center back Mitchell Burt was the hero much of the night, pairing with younger brother and freshman center back Cameron Burt, senior right back Aidan Partch, and senior left back Edwin Francia to stymie Montrose’s attack all night long. The Indians had just four shots on goal all night, which was a testament to standout play from the back line once again.

“I can’t say enough about our back line,” Smith said. “Mitchell was tremendous tonight, and his younger brother Cameron did a great job tonight as well. The whole group was terrific; they deserve a lot of credit for tonight’s outcome.”

Montrose’s best chance of the night came midway through the second half as senior forward Bryan Delgado shook free from the back line and darted after a ball played over the top of the Glenwood defense. Delgado found himself all alone with the ball as he closed in on Glenwood goalkeeper Carlos Guardado with a chance to take the lead. Out of nowhere though, Burt — a three-year varsity player for the Demons — tracked down Delgado and slid in front of his shot attempt, blocking the ball away from danger, igniting the home crowd.

Burt, a first-team 4A Western Slope League and second-team All-State player last season, made a difficult play look routine, which has come to be the norm for the senior captain, who is quickly staking a claim for the best center back on the Western Slope.

“He’s got great vision, great technique, and great closing speed,” Smith said. “He’s going to do it cleanly and do it effectively. A lot of kids just can’t do that. He just has the mentality to make every play back there.”

As the defense stood tall much of the night, Glenwood’s high-powered attack continued its struggles to find the back of the net early in the season.

Glenwood controlled possession throughout the night, keeping Montrose pinned in its own end, but when the chances came, the Demons couldn’t finish in the final third.

Senior forward German Alvarado, Glenwood’s leading goal scorer last season, had the best chance of the first half around the midway mark, racing to a throughball from Cameron Burt to break in on Montrose goalkeeper Greg Sheya. Alvarado let loose a right-footed blast that had promise, but the shot was just wide right, keeping the game knotted at 0-0. Sophomore forward Reid Swanson then had two great chances late in the first half, but the young forward also couldn’t get two shots in close past Sheya, sending the two teams into the break scoreless.

Coming out of the half, Montrose nearly struck first as senior Jorge Baeza found himself wide open on the doorstep of Glenwood’s goal after a great run along the end line by Delgado. Baeza had all the time in the world to slot home the shot for the lead, but the senior rushed his left-footed shot from in close, sailing Montrose’s best chance high over the crossbar as the Glenwood faithful breathed a sigh of relief.

Shortly after, Bernal skied for the icebreaker with 11:55 left in the game.

“We kind of like Angel’s height, and he plays pretty physical,” Smith said. “When we play teams with big back lines like we did tonight, he can really take advantage in those situations; that’s definitely one of his strengths.”

Holding a 1-0 lead, Glenwood’s defense clamped down even tighter on Montrose’s attack, frustrating the veteran Indians into some silly yellow cards, allowing the Demons to pick up the 1-0 win at home, pushing their season record to 4-0.

“The boys have that mentality; they know what it takes to make a deep playoff run,” Smith said. “My words are coming back to haunt me because I always say it takes one goal to win a soccer game. If we defend and possess the ball like we have so far this year, I’d feel a lot more comfortable capitalizing on a few more chances, we’ll be fine. We have the experience in one-goal games, dating back to our playoff run. It’s working for us; it’s not the most comfortable way to win, but we have the experience in these types of games.”

Glenwood (4-0) travels to Grand Junction Central Saturday morning to take on the Warriors in a nonleague matchup at 11 a.m.

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