Gallardo’s 2 goals leads Titans over Miners
Post Independent Sports Editor
Junior forward Ivan Gallardo scored two goals, and senior midfielder Gustavo Archila dished out four assists as the Coal Ridge Titans’ boys soccer team rolled to a 5-1 win Friday evening over the visiting Telluride Miners at ‘The Pasture’ in New Castle.
The Titans scored three first-half goals in the first game of the Titans’ home soccer tournament, cruising to the four-goal win, setting up a showdown with the Vail Mountain Gore Rangers Saturday at noon in New Castle.
Using well-placed through balls into open areas of the Miners’ defense, Coal Ridge jumped all over Telluride, as Gallardo scored just eight minutes into the game, tracking down a terrific pass from Archila that split the Miners’ back line, allowing Gallardo a free run in on net. The junior fired a shot past Telluride’s goalkeeper, who was out of the net on the play, giving the Titans a 1-0 lead.
Controlling possession early in the match, Coal Ridge continued to play balls through the Miners’ defense, giving forwards open runs deep into the Miners’ zone. Fourteen minutes into the match, senior Kade Frees raced past the Telluride back long, receiving an Archila pass for a free run on net. The senior forward slotted home his shot past the diving Telluride goalkeeper, giving the Titans a 2-0 lead.
“The biggest thing we’ve been trying to hit those through balls into the proper space,” Michael Mikalakis, Coal Ridge’s head coach said. “We’re not trying to play the ball over the top. We’ve been trying to play them into open spaces, giving us opportunities to score, and it all starts with the back being able to come up and hold that possession. I commend the backfield.”
Minutes later, Frees nearly made it 3-0, slipping a shot past the Telluride keeper, who came off his line to challenge Frees in the box. However, a Telluride defender slipped behind the keeper and cleared Frees’s shot off the goal line, keeping it a 2-0 game.
That score stood for five more minutes as Anthony Ayala slipped a shot just inside the right post at the 10:02 mark, giving the Titans a 3-0 lead.
Late in the first half the Miners nearly got on the board thanks to a Titans defensive miscue. Fortunately for Coal Ridge, junior defender J.P. Gallardo recovered in time to negate the Miners’ chance, sending the two teams into the half with the Titans holding a 3-0 lead.
“For us it’s huge [to come out fast],” Mikalakis said. “We’ve struggled in the first half in a lot of games and a lot of seasons, so I’m really proud of these kids that as soon as they step out on the field they’re ready to go. I think it says a lot about the kids as a team this year that they’re ready and they’re hungry.”
Coming out of the break, Coal Ridge scored 10 minutes into the second half as sophomore Jack Price pounced on a loose ball in the box, firing a shot past the diving Telluride keeper, giving the Titans a 4-0 lead at the 30:18 mark.
The two teams traded possession for the next 20 minutes of the second half before Telluride’s Matheau Richard drew a penalty in the box. Richard fired the penalty kick past Coal Ridge’s diving keeper, Cody Connor, making it a 4-1 game. Connor got a hand on the penalty kick but wasn’t able to slap the shot away.
Minutes later Connor came up big for the Titans, punching a shot from Telluride’s Ian Enkema off the crossbar from a chance in close, keeping a three-goal lead for the Titans. Taking advantage of Connor’s big save, Coal Ridge quickly transitioned the other way as Gallardo received a through ball from Archila, outran the Miner defense, and fired a shot into the upper right corner of the net for a 5-1 lead in stoppage time, closing out the game.
Coal Ridge improves to 3-1 on the season. The Titans host Vail Mountain Saturday in a non-league matchup at noon.