Eagle boys can’t grab momentum in home 5-2 loss to the Pintos

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The growing pains continued for the young Belen boys soccer team on Thursday afternoon as it fell to Moriarty, 5-2.

Mike Stearns-News-Bulletin photo: Eagle defender Manuel Parra, left, takes the ball form Moriarty sweeper Kevin Molato in the first half of Thursday’s 5-2 loss to the Pintos. Belen will face West Mesa on Saturday morning before former coach Brian Weems and the Sandia Matadors come calling at 4 p.m. on Tuesday.

Belen has a tough road to find the solution before District 6-4A play begins as Los Lunas visits Belen on Sept. 22.

The Eagles (1-6) will visit West Mesa at 9:30 on Saturday at the APS Soccer Complex.

Sandia, and former head coach Brian Weems, are scheduled to visit Belen at 4 p.m. Tuesday. Weems coached the Eagles to two straight state title game appearances before joining the Matadors in May.

If that were not a tough enough schedule, Belen is set to host Albuquerque Academy at 4 p.m. Thursday.

Krow was especially disappointed with the breakdowns against an opponent Belen hoped to be in a position to defeat.

The Eagles played a spirited first half only to fall behind 1-0 on a goal by Moriarty’s Kevin Molato with less than 10 minutes to go before halftime.

The Pintos (2-6) stepped up the defense, not allowing a Belen shot on goal in the opening half.

Chris Lovato took charge of the offense in the second half, taking three shots in the first five minutes.

But Moriarty increased its lead to 2-0 on Erik Avila’s goal at 45:07.

Lovato and the Eagles did not give in though, and the Eagle freshman sweeper was pushed from behind on the way to an obvious goal just at the top of the gaol box. The penalty on Brandon Arnold set up Lovato’s score on the penalty kick to narrow the Pinto lead to 2-1.

Then it got frustrating for Krow and the Eagles.

Instead of igniting the Eagle effort, Moriarty took the momentum and scored seven minutes later to extend the edge to 3-1.

It would be more of the same in the final seven minutes of the match.

Lovato scored on a hard strike on the left edge of the penalty box that hit the hand of Moriarty goaltender Nestor Lugo. The kick scorched through Lugo’s attempt to stop it, and Belen had pulled to within a goal at the 73:41 mark.

Less than a minute later, a defensive breakdown on a long kick let Avila score his second goal of the game and Morairty led, 4-2.

The Pintos got their final goal of the game with less than a minute and a half left in the match on another defensive breakdown.

The defensive effort became the focus of a stern correction in the host Eagles huddle following the game from first year coach Danny Krow.

“Every time we scored, our defense broke down. It is getting ridiculous already,” said Krow.

Especially disappointing was the inability to sustain any momentum from the Eagle tallies.

“I mean coming off this loss we have to get into the minds of the defense,” said Krow. “I was thinking every time we scored a goal that it would lift us up, but it brought us back down. They never should have beat us by three goals.”

Krow saw a few bright spots, especially the play of midfielder Michael Vialpando.

“Our offense did great — Michael did great,” said Krow. “Our whole team is not operating as a whole unit. We have to get over those few little bumps before district starts.”


-- Email the author at mstearns@news-bulletin.com.