Colorado wasn’t kind to the Northwest College men’s soccer team over the weekend, as the Trappers returned home from a two-game road swing with losses to Trinidad State and Otero Junior …
Colorado wasn’t kind to the Northwest College men’s soccer team over the weekend, as the Trappers returned home from a two-game road swing with losses to Trinidad State and Otero Junior College.
Northwest fell behind early Friday against Trinidad State but battled back to make it a game in a 5-4 loss; Saturday’s contest against Otero was a bit more subdued, as the Trappers were shut out 3-0.
“We made a few silly mistakes that cost us some goals,” said NWC head coach Ben McArthur. “I was pleased with the first game, because we made some mistakes but kept battling. Sunday against Otero was a rough one from the beginning.”
Friday’s game against the Trojans got off to an inauspicious start for NWC, which gave up a goal in the game’s first minute. Trinidad added to that lead 15 minutes later; up 2-0, the school appeared to have the game in hand.
The Trappers weren’t about to concede, however, scoring goals in the 26th and 30th minute to even the game at 2-2. The first goal was the result of Trinidad scoring on themselves with pressure from the Trappers; forward Tumekie Blackwood found the back of the net unassisted for the second tally.
The momentum shift was short-lived: the Trojans’ Jahleel Cunningham scored back-to-back goals just a couple of minutes apart to put Trinidad back up 4-2 as the first half came to an end.
The second half was back-and-forth, with the Trappers pulling within one on a goal by Martin Gonzales-Gutierrez in the 54th minute, assisted by Ryoto Nakamura. The Trojans answered with a goal four minutes later to push their lead back to two at 5-3; Northwest countered in the 64th minute, with Gonzales-Gutierrez bouncing a shot off the post that teammate Samuel Henrique was able to tap in to make it 5-4.
“Martin [Gonzales-Gutierrez] is really starting to come on,” McArthur said. “He’s putting himself in dangerous situations consistently, and that’s what we’re looking for — guys that will give us opportunities to score some goals. He’s consistently causing the other team headaches.”
The Trappers appeared to tie the game late, but an offsides call nullified the score.
“Looking at the film, it’s kind of a rough call, because we think it came off a defender,” McArthur said, adding, “It was a crazy game — ultimately, we just made too many mistakes. That was a tough one that we felt like we should have won. But I’m pleased, because we didn’t give up.”
Against Otero Saturday, an early goal by the Rattlers had Northwest on its heels, and things didn’t improve after the Trappers lost one of their starters.
At the collegiate level, if a player is given two yellow cards in the same game, the second one counts as a red and the player is ejected. Nakamura received two yellow cards in the first half, effectively ending his game. Otero scored two more goals in the second half to put the game out of reach.
“We gave up a really, really silly goal early in the game,” McArthur said. “Then we got a red card, so we ended up playing a man down for 58 minutes. Anytime you’re playing a man down, obviously it’s tough. It was just a rough day.”
Still, the Trappers were able to generate scoring opportunities — a positive McArthur said the team was able to take away from the game.
“We were frustrated, but you can’t blame everything on the ref, you still have to get out there and play,” McArthur said. “And when you recognize that the ref is calling the game a little tighter than what we’re used to, you have to adapt your game a little bit. We weren’t able to do that.”
With center back Chanwhi Jung injured in the Trinidad game, Chase Hains, a freshman from Buffalo, started against Otera. McArthur was pleased with the results.
“Chase played great. He made a couple of little mistakes in the first half, but in the second half, he was able to clean them up,” McArthur said. “He hasn’t played a lot the last two weeks, but Chase slid in there and got it done. ... Chase stepped up.”
The Trappers are on the road again this weekend against a pair of Region IX opponents: Gillette on Friday and Sheridan on Saturday. NWC lost 6-1 to Gillette earlier this season, but has yet to face Sheridan.
“Those are two huge games for us,” McArthur said. “If we’re going to finish in a decent spot in the region, we need to win these games. The theme this week is let’s be mentally tough — let’s finish our chances. And at the same time, let’s not shoot ourselves in the foot. When we played Gillette the first time, we didn’t finish, and it cost us.”