Both situations ended in losses for the Ruidoso soccer teams, as the boys lost to Portales 5-2, while the girls fell to the Lady Rams 4-0 in a rain-shortened match.
The day opened at White Mountain Athletic Complex with the boys contest, and Portales (4-0) wasted little time scoring, getting a long strike from about 25 yards out by Jesus Melendez, about five minutes into the match.
Midway through the first half, Portales scored again on a breakaway goal by Manuel Perez.
All this happened before the Warriors (2-3) were able to get a shot on goal, and things started to open up a bit for the Ruidoso offense after that.
Agustin Enriquez almost had a goal for the Warriors that bounced off the left post, and Portales followed with a shot that hit the cross bar and bounced straight down.
Portales coach Brian Kirchner thought it was a goal, but officials ruled it a live ball and a mad scramble ensued in front of the net.
In the melee, Ruidoso goal keeper Luis Leyva went down hard and had to be replaced by Eric Pizarro.
Pizarro held his own until just a few seconds before the end of the half when Tyler Kangas scored on another breakaway.
The second half was a different situation, as the ball was on the Portales end of the field much more often. Kirchner was so upset with the defensive breakdowns of the Rams, he began substituting half the team at once.
“It’s a problem we’ve had all year, we can’t put 80 full minutes together, and I don’t know what the deal is,” Kirchner said. “We get satisfied at the half, we think game’s over, but when you play a team as tough as Ruidoso, they’re going to come back and get you.”
Ruidoso was finally able to get on the board with a goal from forward Jesus Villalba, a shot from the right side. Enriquez later followed on a cross kick from Villalba to pull Ruidoso within one.
“In the first games, in the first half, we’ve come out asleep and not ready to play,” said Ruidoso coach Aaron Romero. “I told them they had to be ready to go and no one was going to wait for them to score. They woke up and played a great second half.”
Villalba had another shot to tie it shortly afterwards, but it didn’t have enough power behind it and Portales goalkeeper Juan Tinajero was able to stop it.
Kangas and Zachary Blaeser were able to get two more goals on assists from Brandon Gomez to put the game away.
“They got a couple of slop goals near the end, but that’s what happens when we have to push guys forward and try to get a goal,” Romero said. “Desperate was the word. We get those two goals and we’re down one, and we had some chances but couldn’t quite convert them. If we play two halves the way we played the second half, we’re in the game and it’s a coin flip from there.”
Girls shut out again
It’s likely the only reason the Ruidoso girls allowed only four goals is because the game was called midway through the second half due to rain, but Lady Warrior coach Darien Ross was happy with how the girls started this time.
“At the beginning of the game, they were more focused,” Ross said. “The problem is, they can’t seem to stay that way.”
Portales kept the ball on Ruidoso’s end of the field almost exclusively throughout the game, and scored the only goal they needed about 10 minutes into the first half on a sliding kick by Damari Jimenez.
Kaitlin Garrett added a breakaway goal about two minutes later, and the Lady Warriors’ defense began to break down further.
“The goals all came because someone wasn’t marking their man,” Ross said. “Once they got scored on, they got flustered.”
Ruidoso’s offense was also on the ropes, as the Lady Warriors were unable to get a single shot on goal against Portales.
Despite the loss, Ross did see some improvement, and will have more substitution options once the extra girls that have come out get their physicals completed.
“There was improvement, and it’s starting to click,” Ross said. “They’re starting to figure this out.”