Cowboys start strong, but without substitutes the team tires late in soccer match

The Crook County Cowboys had plenty of opportunities to score but struggled to finish as they fell 7-3 to the Dallas Dragons Tuesday afternoon in non-league soccer action.

"The game was really close," said Crook County head coach Nestor Covarrubias. "You can look at the score and see that it is 7-3 and maybe you say, 'Oh, 7-3 is a big difference, maybe the other team is much better,' but the other team only made eight opportunities and made seven goals and my team had maybe 20 opportunities and we make only three."

The Cowboys forced the action early in the contest but were unable to score. Meanwhile, Dallas had just one scoring opportunity in the first 20 minutes of the game and made the most of it, taking a 1-0 lead.

Crook County responded as Abel Nunez scored to tie the game just after the midpoint of the first half.

However, the Cowboys began to tire late in the half and the Dragons took advantage, scoring two late goals to take a 3-1 lead into the half.

"We didn't have any subs. Half of the team was asking for subs at the same time. It is hard to focus. It is hard to win when you are asking for subs and are asking for water," Covarrubias said. "The other team made substitutions every five minutes. The other coach saw that we didn't have substitutes and made a rotation of players, and we got really tired."

Despite not substituting the entire match, the Cowboys stayed competitive throughout.

Nunez scored a second goal after halftime, while Jesse Sanchez scored the Cowboys' final goal late in the match.

Crook County could have had substitutions. However, Covarrubias decided to honor the team's commitment to play a JV match as well. With Crook County being so short of players, the JV match was played with just nine players on the field for both teams.

Dallas also won that match, taking a 5-2 victory.

Covarrubias said that he hopes to have enough players by the end of this week that the team will be able to substitute.

"I saw a couple sad faces because we lost," he said. "My team is really short right now, but hopefully in this week or next week we can compete with 13, maybe 14 players instead of the 11 players we had for the last game."

With the varsity victory, Dallas improved to 2-0 on the season, while the Cowboys fell to 0-2.

Covarrubias said that despite the loss, he saw a lot of improvement from the Cowboys' first match, a 9-1 loss to Madras.

"At Madras, they weren't sharing the ball and everybody was yelling," he said. "But yesterday was pretty good. I'm pretty happy with how we worked as a team. I saw more teamwork, and that is really important if we want to win some games, and I saw a lot more teamwork yesterday."

Covarrubias added that the team will work hard this week on finishing when they have a scoring opportunity.

He is also working to recruit more players. In addition, a couple of players that have been unable to practice either because of injuries or issues with medical insurance are expected to be available to practice.

Crook County has some time before they play again, and Covarrubias believes that the team will continue to improve.

Following more than a week without a match, the Cowboys will be back in action on Thursday, Sept. 13, when they host the Sandy Pioneers in a 4:30 p.m. match.

The Pioneers, who moved up to Class 6A this year, are currently 1-2 on the year.

Following that match, the team returns to the road to take on Lebanon on Tuesday, Sept. 18. The team will then start league later in the week when they host The Dalles on Thursday, Sept. 20 in the league opener for both teams.

Like the Cowboys, both Lebanon and The Dalles have started the season with 0-2 records.

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