In this preseason friendly, what looked to be an even game early on soon developed into a mismatch with the Cowboys dominating a majority of the possession.
Putting on an impressive second half show, the Grantsville boys soccer team displayed excellent chemistry to blow through a 10-man American Preparatory Academy-West Valley team. The Cowboys came out of the halftime break determined to break the stalemate of the first half. After an early goal from junior Dayne Linton in the 47th minute, the Cowboys followed up with a third goal five minutes later from senior forward and captain Dylan Defa.
“Just getting back into the swing of things after tryouts and after having been on the practice field, I think a lot of us are really starting to get the feel for each other’s playstyle,” senior captain Brock May said. “We’re starting to figure each other out and learning everyone’s attributes and its connecting really well.”
Nemo Fuluvaka scored the Cowboys’ first goal of the game in the 13th minute. Ryan Tripp capped the scoring with a goal in the 77th minute.
The Cowboys’ aggressive style of defense in the midfield allowed them to keep American Prep on the backfoot. Strong tackles from players like Ryan Tripp and May in the center of the field cut off a lot of the opposing team’s breakaways.
“We wanted to possess the ball. We wanted to keep it away from them as much as possible,” Grantsville coach Travis Lowry said. “Our first game Tuesday, we did a lot of stuff going sideways and today we wanted to find the lanes for the forwards. It started out a little slow but it’s what we were trying to do.”
The intense work rate of the players was present in all aspect of the field. Much of the midfield was able to work into the offensive third and aid the forwards in maintaining offensive possessions. The forwards’ work ethic and constant pressing of the ball resulted in mistakes from American Prep players and allowed the depth of Grantsville’s team to shine through.
“I’m gonna say Owen Linares (was a key player),” Lowry said. “He was played out of position. He normally plays outside back and we put him in the middle cause were missing people. He was solid today in anchoring our defense.”
On paper, Grantsville appears to have one of the hardest regions in Class 3A. The Cowboys intend to build up their momentum and confidence early in the preseason to take with them throughout the rest of the year.
The Cowboys reappeared Tuesday at Wendover in a game that was not complete at press time.