GREELEY — The Longmont Trojans had Northridge right where they wanted them.
A goal in the first minute by Ben Richburg held up for the first 40 minutes and for just the third time this season the Trojans went to the break with the lead and some momentum.
But Longmont came out of the intermission inexplicably flat and gave up two quick scores to the Grizzlies in the first eight minutes and ended up losing the match 2-1 at District 6 Stadium.
“For some reason we just came out and thought they were just not going to play,” said first year Trojans head coach Dave John, whose team dropped to 4-7-1 overall and now 1-3 in the now very competitive Northern League.
Northridge (6-6-1, 4-1) took advantage of the flat-footed Trojans midfield and found easy combinations in the attacking third to set up their goals.
Giovanni Pacheco connected with Max Kolanz for the Grizzlies equalizer that came in the 44th minutes against back-up keeper Alex Powell.
Just over four minutes later, Northridge scored the game winner on direct free kick. Cesar Arrellano’s deft touch found Alexis Gomez on the far post and the junior went up high and headed home a shot over Powell, who had come slightly off his line.
“What I want to see is them start playing as a team” a frustrated John said. “The talent is definitely there, it’s just a matter of them believing in themselves that they can do it.”
It all came in the wake of a very well played first half by the Trojans.
Richburg’s goal was a big rip from just outside the box that caught Northridge goalie David Reveles off guard.
“It just happened to be right where I wanted to put it,” said Richburg, who bagged his third goal of the season.
Longmont had another great scoring chance in the 13th minute. Senior Eben Vogel found himself unmanned in the middle of the box, but had his right-footed shot bang off of Reveles’ right post.
“It’s mental for us now,” Richburg said. “We can put it together 50-60 minutes, then we just break down. We are trying to keep our focus for a whole game and try to get better for Monday (against Thompson Valley).”
Jose Torres, who started in goal for Longmont, was out-of-his-mind impressive in the final 10 minutes of the first half. The sophomore make three great saves in that stretch, including two on the Grizzlies’ Javier Navarro.
The Trojans have three games, including league leading Greeley Central (who was in attendance) and Niwot, left to bolster their RPI rating and sneak into the playoffs.
“We always feel like we have a chance and we are going to do everything we can to win these last three,” Richburg said. “We’ll see how it plays out.”
NORTHRIDGE 2, LONGMONT 1
At District 6 Stadium
Longmont (4-7-1, 1-3)
Northridge (6-6-1, 4-1)
Goals (assists) —
Longmont: Ben Richburg (unassisted), 1st minute; Northridge: Max Kolanz (Giovanni Pacheco), 44th; Alexis Gomez (Cesar Arrellano), 48th.
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) —
Longmont: Jose Torres (40-0-4), Alex Powell (40-2-5); Northridge: David Reveles (80-1-4).