CHEYENNE – The Laramie County Community College men’s soccer team watched a collection of Lionel Messi highlights prior to Friday afternoon’s season opener.
One of the Argentine star’s signature moves stood out to Omar Castruita.
“Someone attacks the end line, passes it back to him, and (Messi) just hits it the first time,” the freshman said. “I saw an opportunity to slot the ball into the bottom right side. Luckily, it went through the defender’s legs and went in.”
Castruita’s 84th-minute goal lifted the Golden Eagles to a 2-1 victory over No. 9-ranked Snow College of Ephraim, Utah.
That tally was Castruita’s second of the afternoon.
His first came during the 51st minute, when he took a pass from Carlos Vargas outside the penalty area and rifled a shot just under the crossbar to knot the score 1-1.
“We have been struggling to finish,” Castruita said. “Those two goals felt great. They are a big relief.”
The Golden Eagles (1-0) out shot Snow 22-10 overall, and enjoyed a 9-3 edge in shots on goal.
“We have been talking about finishing since we got here,” LCCC coach Vince Gibson said. “We have a
bunch of shooters right now. It’s going to take some time to turn them into finishers.”
The Badgers pulled ahead in the 24th minute when Harei Maeda found Kade Jorgensen alone in space. Jorgensen wasted little time firing the ball past LCCC sophomore goalkeeper Tanner Riedel.
“It’s early, and we’re still not as organized as we need to be,” Gibson said. “We had people split, and nobody step up. They’ll get more organized and understand their positioning better the more we play.”
Riedel only made two saves, one of them by diving too high right on a hard shot during the first half.
“I’m very happy with our defense,” Riedel said. “There’s room for improvement, but they made my job pretty easy.”
LCCC returns to the pitch against Cloud County Community College of Concordia, Kansas, at noon Sunday.
The LCCC women’s soccer team’s match against Snow College was supposed to start at 5 p.m., but was delayed due to weather and moved over to Cheyenne’s East High. The contest finished after deadline and results will be published in Sunday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle.
LCCC 2, SNOW 1
Halftime: 1-0 Snow.
Goals: Snow, Jorgensen (Maeda), 24. LCCC, Castruita (Vargas), 51. LCCC, Castruita (Stitt), 84.
Shots: Snow 10, LCCC 22. Shots on goal: Snow 3, LCCC 9. Saves: Snow 7 (Myers); LCCC 2 (Riedel).
Corner kicks: Snow 6, LCCC 5. Offsides: Snow 1, LCCC 1. Fouls: Snow 12, LCCC 14. Yellow cards: Snow 4 (Sereno, 34. Ueno, 40. Vergara, 69. Jorgensen, 88.), LCCC 5 (Longbottom, 36. Lopez, 55. Espino-Kennedy, 59. Bench, 67. Willett, 88).