Eagle boys lose on road

........................................................................................................................................................................................

The challenges keep getting bigger for the Belen High boys soccer team.

Jason W. Brooks-News-Bulletin photo: Belen’s Alan Hidalgo, right, tries to get the ball upfield in Saturday’s loss to West Mesa. BHS is set to host Los Lunas for an 11 a.m. District 6-4A opener on Saturday.

Having lost six of its first seven matches and heading into a tough stretch on the schedule, the Eagles found out starting goalkeeper Alejandro Chaves will miss at least three matches with a back injury.

The Class 4A Eagles, who are an extremely young, undersized team this season, then traveled to the APS Soccer Complex on Saturday, where they lost to 5A West Mesa, 6-1, to fall to 1-7.

The Eagles were set to host Sandia, one of 5A’s tougher teams, on Tuesday after News-Bulletin press time. The Matadors are coached by former Belen coach Brian Weems.

Thursday, the Eagles host Albuquerque Academy at 4 p.m., and open District 6-4A play by hosting Los Lunas at 11 a.m. on Saturday.

Last Saturday, Michael Vialpando made his varsity debut as a goalkeeper. The sophomore looked like a solid substitute for Chaves at times, especially in the second half, but the Mustangs (2-4) went up 4-0 before halftime.

Belen’s defense struggled mightily, and a couple of the point-blank goals would have been tough for any goalkeeper to prevent. The Mustangs scored in the seventh, 16th, 24th, 31st and 47th minutes for a 5-0 lead.

“If we would have had Alejandro, it might have been different,” said BHS coach Daniel Krow. “But we also have to keep working on getting back quickly when the other team makes a run.”

The Mustangs looked to be the better-organized squad for the first 50 minutes of the match. But Belen picked up its intensity, and it made a small impact.

Chris Lovato, Francisco Legarda and Jesse Monge managed to get some solid chances.

In the 66th minute, Lovato fired a hard shot from near the 18-yard line, in the middle of the field. The shot was knocked down, but the ball bounce went directly to Eagle right wing Erick Guerrero, who one-timed it out of the air for the Eagles’ only goal.

West Mesa scored again in the 75th minute. Lovato, the Eagles’ top offensive player, looked considerably frustrated, especially in the second half.

Belen had six shots on goal, while the Mustangs had 10.

The Eagles have beaten Los Lunas in all four meetings since the two teams became district partners again.


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