Demons trounce Devils behind first-half scoring outburst
Two goals in stoppage time late in the first half propelled the Glenwood Springs Demons’ boys soccer team to an impressive 5-0 handling of the visiting Eagle Valley Devils Tuesday night at Stubler Memorial Field in Glenwood.
In the last meeting between these two 4A Western Slope League foes, Glenwood won a physical affair by a score of 4-2, but Tuesday on its home field, Glenwood was no match for Eagle Valley.
Kicking off the game, Glenwood and Eagle fought hard in the middle of the field for controlled possession as the two teams tried to find their footing on a cold, damp night at Stubler Memorial Field.
The Devils got the first chance of the night as junior Jordan Lawrence, playing with a cast on his right arm, raced down the right wing as Glenwood sophomore Jack Rheinhold gave chase. Using his impressive closing speed, Rheinhold cut off Lawrence’s run, clearing the ball out of bounds to shut down Eagle’s scoring chance.
“We were just really shutting them down,” Glenwood Head Coach Wayne Smith said. “We were really organized tonight, and Jack’s speed is just phenomenal. He can go from standing still to flying quickly. People tell me all the time they love watching him play because he plays with so much speed and passion, but overall they were just really organized on the back end. We weren’t keying on anyone tonight, we were just keeping the back line organized, marking your guys and working as a unit.”
After Rheinhold’s impressive defensive play, the Demons found their stride offensively, creating a number of chances as strikers Clayton Horning and Mikey Willis played well off of each other for the Demons’ attack.
Horning made a great run down the left wing, beating an Eagle defender to the box before crossing the ball into the middle for a streaking Willis, but the pass was kicked away by Eagle goalkeeper Ever Ortiz to keep the score tied at 0-0.
Thanks to Ortiz’s clear, the Demons received a corner and nearly took a 1-0 lead. Off the corner kick, Horning connected with a header, but the attempt was right at Ortiz, who deflected it quickly off the crossbar. The deflection bounced back into the box where Glenwood had a second crack at it, but Ortiz was able to block the shot wide, keeping the game scoreless.
Not discouraged though, the Demons continued to attack aggressively, which led to a goal by Willis with just 2:32 left in the first half.
Willis received a great through-ball from senior Alonso Pacheco from the left sideline, sending the striker on a long run up the middle of the field, splitting two Eagle defenders to get to the ball. After receiving the pass, Willis raced in on Ortiz, where the Glenwood senior then slipped a shot past the diving Ortiz, banking the ball in off the right post for a 1-0 Glenwood lead.
From there, the offensive floodgates opened as Horning nearly made it 2-0, beating Ortiz on a similar shot as Willis’, but the goal was waved off due to an off-sides call. No matter, though, as Horning came right back 30 seconds later, beating Ortiz again on the same run to give Glenwood a 2-0 lead before the half.
Sitting on a 2-0 lead at the half against Eagle would have been a good position for the Demons, but the offense simply fired on all cylinders in stoppage time, leading to a second goal of the game from Willis as he tapped a shot past Ortiz low and to the left post, making it 3-0 Glenwood in a flurry, setting the home crowd off into a frenzy at the events unfolding on the field before them.
“They were moving the ball there at the end of the first half,” Smith said. “We don’t coach them to play long ball and run down the ball, so when you’re playing a team like Eagle and do that, you’re playing to their strengths. So when we started to move the ball and the strikers can run under the ball and score, that’s how it’s supposed to work. Mikey and Clayton play well together, so once we got that going, the offense started clicking.
“We started switching the ball around and making five, six, seven passes each possession. And that’s the way we train them to play. Sometimes it depends on what the other side brings, but it looked really good for us tonight offensively.”
Coming out of the half holding a 3-0 lead, the Demons continued to dominate possession in the second half, but not without some great defensive plays from Rheinhold and a couple of huge saves from sophomore goalkeeper Carlos Guardado, preserving the shutout.
As the defense stood tall in limited action, the offense continued to put pressure on Eagle, leading to a goal from junior Leo Mireles from outside the box, blasting home a strike moments after Ortiz came through with a huge save on a header from Willis.
Taking a commanding 4-0 lead, any semblance of a second-half letdown by Glenwood went out the window as the Demons circled the Devils’ net, leading to a goal from Horning — his second of the game — as the senior completed a strong run down the middle of the field, splitting two Eagle defenders before chipping a shot over a sprawling Ortiz to cap off the scoring in the 5-0 win.
Willis and Horning finished with two goals each, while Mireles added one. Pacheco chipped in with three assists on the night.
“I told the guys after the game that that’s the way our game is supposed to look like when we’re creating chances, moving the ball and working together,” Smith said. “It’s great when everyone participates. The guys just played a great game tonight.”
With the win over the Devils, Glenwood improves to 6-5 (5-3 4A WSL) on the season.
The Demons will travel to Palisade Thursday afternoon for a matchup with the Bulldogs at 4 p.m.