NIWOT — When it comes to Niwot soccer’s attack, David Almanza boils its success down to its most basic parts.
Sure, the striker believes there is plenty of talent among the fourth-ranked Cougars’ goal scorers. But having played with many of his teammates up top since he was 7-years-old, Almanza believes there is a more important component in Niwot’s ability to net the ball — chemistry.
That might be the case, but Monday one thing was strikingly apparent. Almanza was the catalyst in his team’s offensive explosion in its 3-2 win over Silver Creek.
“Everything just seem to work this afternoon,” the Cougars striker said.
Almanza had Silver Creek’s (1-3-1, 1-1) defense scrambling from start to finish with some of the game’s most dynamic play. The senior started Niwot (3-1, 1-0) on the path to victory in its Northern League opener with the game’s opening goal.
His initial volley in the 11th minute, however, paled to the fireworks he created late in the game. Almanza netted his second goal in the 45th minute in acrobatic fashion, nailing a bicycle kick in the middle of traffic.
Spectacular as the play was, the striker points out it was not his first. But his flipping goal Monday, came under much more dire circumstances than the one he struck in a 2011 junior varsity match.
“The ball was in the air, I didn’t think I’d have enough time to head it in, because their goalie is pretty tall,” he said. “I didn’t really think about the play, I just reacted.”
Carlos Dominguez sandwiched his fifth score of the season in between Almanza’s goals. But even behind the Cougars’ withering attack, the Raptors did not back down.
Ryan Charles dipped the well twice for the former top-10 team, scoring in each half. But his second score he believed carried the most weight. The striker’s late goal came just 2-minutes after Almanza’s aerobatics and lit a spark under the Raptors for the remainder of the game, Charles said.
“After we got that I felt we could pull it out and see where it took us,” he said. “But it just turned out to be another tough loss.”
Things have not gone Silver Creek’s way in the early season. As Charles points out, the team is without one of its lead attackers in Johnathon Wright, who is out for six more weeks with a torn ACL. But his coach sees a few other areas the team needs to fortify to get back on the winning track.
“We don’t have that much we need to correct,” Shane Smith said. “We just need to go back to the basics: Control with our heads, control with our feet, get touches, those types of things.”
On the other side, Rob Johnson could not have been more pleased with his team’s effort or decision. And at this point, with only one loss to the Cougars’ record, the Niwot coach believes his team is proving it is among the best in Class 4A.
“I think people see that Niwot across our chests and they’re a little intimidated,” he said. “We made a deep run last year and we’re planning to again.”
Follow Elwood on Twitter @ElwoodKShelton.
Niwot 3, Silver Creek 2
At Niwot H.S.
Silver Creek (1-3-2, 1-1) 1 1 — 2
Niwot (3-1, 1-0) 2 1 — 3
Goals (assists) — Niwot: David Almanza (unassisted), 11th minute; Silver Creek: Ryan Charles (Steven Jimenez), 17th minute; Niwot: Carlos Dominguez (Perry Chesebro), 31st minute; Niwot: David Almanza (unassisted), 45th minute; Silver Creek: Ryan Charles (Brian Hardy), 47th minute.
Goalkeepers (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Silver Creek: Greg Nissen (80-3-7). Niwot: Jack Fitzgerald (80-2-3).