Salamanca’s four goals fuel Longhorns |

Salamanca’s four goals fuel Longhorns

Jon Maletz
The Aspen Times
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Jim Ryan Special to the Post IndependentBasalt's Willy Salamanca, right, battles a Colorado Rocky Mountain School player for the ball during Tuesday's game in Basalt. The Longhorns won, 6-0.

BASALT, Colorado – Basalt soccer coach Brent Hayes was searching for someone to inject some energy into his squad during a lethargic second half Tuesday.

Willy Salamanca was happy to oblige.

The forward overwhelmed a visibly fatigued Colorado Rocky Mountain School defense down the stretch on a wet, frigid afternoon at Basalt High, erupting for four goals in the game’s final five minutes. His effort helped blow open what was a tight contest, leading the Longhorns to a 6-0 victory.

“The effort in the first half was really good, but in the second I didn’t feel like the boys knew what they were doing and why they were here,” Hayes said. “We seemed to finally hit something that worked toward the end, obviously.

“That’s what I wanted to do the whole game – send more long balls through. Our touch game only gets us so far. Once [defenses] pack the box, there’s nowhere to go. We finally got it going, and things opened up.”

In a hurry.

Salamanca slipped past two defenders on a quick Basalt counterattack with 4 minutes, 30 seconds remaining in regulation, chased down the ball and flicked a shot into the net, stretching the lead to three.

Little more than 90 seconds later, Salamanca one-timed a perfect cross from Elmer Rodriguez into the bottom corner.

“I don’t know, our team just wanted to score more goals,” Salamanca said. “It was a tough game – the weather was bad, the field was slippery. To get those goals, we feel good.”

The soggy conditions did little to slow the sure-footed Salamanca. He scored twice in a 10-second stretch in the final two minutes, both on well-executed through balls.

“Hopefully that gives us some confidence,” Hayes said.

Rodriguez gave Basalt the early advantage in the 22nd minute, when he corralled a throw-in and connected on a low liner.

Midfielder Bertilio Garcia, who scored two goals in each of the previous two games, stretched the lead to two about 6:45 before the half, knocking home a rebound from a few yards out.

“We played great that first half. We only had two goals, but that’s what happens when there’s bad conditions,” Hayes said. “I felt like we dominated play.

“In the second half, without effort and going for the ball, they had us in some dangerous situations quite a few times. … I appreciate the goals we scored, but it’s still too close for comfort right now.”

Basalt, now 9-0 overall and 5-0 in conference play, hosts Hotchkiss at 11 a.m. Saturday.

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