Murcia makes solid debut for Demons soccer
Juan Murcia has adjusted just fine to prep soccer in the United States.In his first game playing for the Glenwood Springs High School team, the exchange student from Colombia set up Glenwood’s first goal and hit the game winner later in the game.After making a couple of nifty moves at the top of the penalty area, Murcia struck home his first goal of the season as the Demons downed Steamboat Springs 3-2 in Class 4A Western Slope League boys soccer action at Gates Soccer Park Thursday evening.”To play this first game I had to practice nine times, so I got used to their style,” Murcia said. “It wasn’t hard. They play a very similar style” to how the game is played in Colombia.
Murcia did admit, however, that he hasn’t adjusted as well to the altitude as he has his new teammates.”The altitude was kind of hard to play in,” he said. “I’m used to playing at, what do you call it, sea level.”Murcia’s goal almost wasn’t enough for the Demons (5-1-1 WSL, 7-1-1 overall) to hold off the Sailors (2-5, 2-6).Steamboat rallied from a 2-0 deficit to tie the game before Murcia’s tally in the 68th minute. The Demons controlled the latter part of the game but couldn’t come up with the insurance goal and Steamboat nearly made Glenwood pay for their missed opportunities in the final minute of play.With Glenwood’s fourth-string goalie, and third of the game, in net due to injuries, the Sailors were awarded a free kick at the top of the penalty area in the final minute of play.
Alec Nelson, who accounted for both Sailor goals, lined up for the kick and went to the lower right side only to have it gobbled up by Isaac Hussain, who was seeing his first high school action as a keeper.”With Alec, he can strike the ball and he has carte blanche to take the shot,” said Steamboat coach Rob Bohlmann.And Nelson was gold from roughly the same spot on the field earlier in the contest. Both Nelson’s goals – one in each half – came on long outside shots that arched over the Demons goalies’ head and into the upper corner.”I couldn’t see too well,” said Hussain, who admitted to being a bit lost on the play, with no idea how to set up the player wall. “I thought he was going to go to the upper right side.”Regardless of where Hussain thought the shot was going, he was in good position for the lower right shot.
“It was a huge save,” Glenwood coach Bob Guska said. “With the wet ball, it could have been one of those shots.”Glenwood opened the scoring midway through the first half when Pat Shepard took Murcia’s through ball down the left wing and caught Sailor goalie Bjorn Lickteig out of position for an easy tally. The Demons amassed a 2-0 advantage 10 minutes later on a long shot from Dylan Gallacher.Steamboat rallied back in the final minutes of the first half and opening minutes of the second with nearly identical blasts from Nelson to the upper right side of the net from outside the penalty area to tie the game at 2-all. “I love games like that, where it’s competitive and back-and forth,” Bohlmann said.Glenwood next plays host to rival Rifle on Tuesday at Stubler Field. Steamboat takes on nonleague foe Centaurus Saturday at home.Glenwood next plays host to rival Rifle on Tuesday at Stubler Field. Steamboat takes on nonleague foe Centaurus Saturday at home.
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