TELLURIDE – Gone are the barely-break-a-sweat exploits of Telluride’s summertime beer, er, softball league. Town League sports action has moved to Telluride’s soccer pitch, where sweat-coated brows are the norm and nary a beer can be found… at least until after the blare of the final whistle.
Bringing the heat to 2009’s early season Telluride Coed Soccer league is Team Latin, who, after their Tuesday night 2-1 win over Brown Dog, have skated into the league’s top slot with an undefeated 3-0 record. Outfitted in slick jerseys that evoke the hailed futbol teams of Latin America, Team Latin players brought fiery, fast-footed play to the table on Tuesday, on which the normally level-headed Brown Dog team seemed unable to get a handle until the damage was already done.
The first half showcased unswerving but ultimately unproductive offensive attacks from Team Latin’s quick-footed forwards, whose efforts were thwarted by Brown Dog’s seasoned defense. The Brown Dog had chances of their own in the first half, but their pointed charges to put a goal on the scoreboard also ultimately turned up fruitless.
Team Latin managed to find the cracks in Brown Dog’s armor in the second half, however, with Alfredo Barriga pummeling a low shot into the left corner after mystifying Brown Dog’s normally sharp defense.
Brown Dog goalkeeper Eric Corff responded to the Team Latin goal with a triplet of back-to-back saves just minutes later, deflecting two shots and finally diving on the third. Yet Corff’s reflexes weren’t fast enough for Team Latin forward Manuel Gonzales, whose feet were a blur as he raced upfield on a breakaway and put one away to increase his team’s lead to 2-0.
Brown Dog offense, piloted by Chad Kusuno, tried to get something started in front of the Team Latin net, but to no avail. A big Team Latin boot back to the Brown Dog box found the foot of forward Maria Jose Benitez, who set up a series of potential goals with exacting cross-field passes in front of the net.
With under ten minutes left on the Tuesday game clock, Brown Dog offense finally found their groove with Val Hill and Patrick Rothe putting together some goal-scoring prospects in Team Latin territory. Brown Dog shooters’ aim was off-mark, however, until Kusuno finally zeroed in on the target after wriggling through a maze of Team Latin defenders. Team Latin goalie Enrique Hernandez managed to deflect the shot, but was slow to rise after the run-in. Just minutes later, Brown Dog was awarded a free kick and Hernandez, perhaps still stunned from the earlier collision, couldn’t get a hand on the zipping roller punted from an unassisted Kusuno.
Despite the late-game heroics, Brown Dog stood no chance of improving their record Tuesday night, with the bleat of the final game whistle coming just moments after the Kusuno goal.
After the Tuesday loss, Brown Dog slipped to a 1-2 record, to stand right in the middle of the early-season coed soccer rankings behind Team Latin (3-0), the Buck United (2-1), and High Mark Fat Alley (1-1.)
Brown Dog Sherry Brieske echoed her fellow teammates lack of concern about their early season record following Tuesday night’s loss.
“It’s just the beginning,” she warned.
Soccer action continues tonight (Thursday) with the Siam Freaks facing Team Latin. Monday, Brown Dog will have a chance to improve their record when they meet the as-yet-winless Dragons at 5:30 p.m. Flubbadubba then will play Team Latin at 6:50 p.m. Tuesday, Fat Alley/High Mark meet the Siam Freaks (5:30 p.m.) Next Wednesday’s back-to-back games should be heated, with the Buck facing off against Team Latin and the Dragons playing the Freaks.