Warriors drop a close one in opener

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The opportunities were there for the Socorro Warriors soccer team on Monday, but a few mishandled balls and a couple of shots just over the crossbar left them on the wrong end of a 3-2 decision against the East Mountain Timberwolves.

Besides playing a bit tentative in the match’s opening minutes, the Warriors came out and basically played their game, using a combination of outside speed and interior size to find their shots.

Nine minutes in, Will Schaffer had an ideal scoring chance in the box, but his ball squeaked just left of the post.

Minutes later, Michael Armijo tried to lift a shallow cross from the left side into Schaffer, but that ball just found it’s way into the East Mountain goalkeeper’s hands. Oliver Garrot found a clear path to the goal after a sweet pass left him virtually one-on-one with the goalkeeper, but a slight mistouch on the ball gave Timberwolves defenders the chance to clear.

The Warriors had the offensive pressure in the match’s first half, they just couldn’t capitalize.

“Once we got it through them, we had our opportunities,” head coach Dennis Walsh said.

But Socorro had some trouble staying their 4-4-2 formation, and in the 13th minute, East Mountain found a gap in the defense and sent one into the left side of the Socorro net to take a 1-0 lead. Sixteen minutes later they added their second goal when Warriors goalkeeper Jesus Corral let one pop over his head and couldn’t quite punch it out. East Mountain took a 2-0 lead into halftime.

“We missed three easy shots, one in the first, two in the second,” Walsh said.

The Warriors came out more poised in the second half though, and came storming back in the opening minutes. With 37 minutes remaining Casper Huang headed in a beautiful cross from the right side to cut the Timberwolves lead to one. Three minutes later Armijo used a nifty move to shake the East Mountain defense, and tied the match at 2-2.

After the next 20 minutes proved to be a stalemate, the Timberwolves’ Chris Golightly blasted a shot in from the top of the penalty area, and East Mountain took the 3-2 it wouldn’t relinquish.

Socorro had two more legitimate chances to tie, but the final whistle sounded as Sean Moore streaked down the left touchline in a last ditch effort. The loss sends the Warriors to 0-1 on the season.

Dropping the first match of the season is never the way a team wants to start out, but Walsh still saw some good things from his team. He said his midfield did a great job of bringing the ball to the outside, and when they did spread out wide they found success.

“Soccer players want to go to where the ball is,” he said. “You’ve got to fight that instinct and spread out a little bit. In order to make good, crisp, one touch passes, they’ve got to spread out. When we spread out, look what happens.”

The Warriors will hit the road this weekend to go compete in the Taos Tournament on Aug. 24-25.