Levi Starr fights for the ball

Salida freshman Levi Starr fights for the ball with Manitou Springs sophomore Lairdon Rogge in front of the Mustang’s goal Thursday. Salida’s loss to Manitou Springs leaves them 3-2-1 this season, and in third place in the 3A Tri-Peaks league.

“It’s been a long time since we’ve taken a shellacking like this from Manitou Springs,” coach Ben Oswald said after the Salida boys’ soccer 4-0 loss at home Thursday against the Mustangs. “But I couldn’t ask anything more from these boys. It was a great effort. It was a real sign of their character that even when they were down, they were fighting back hard.”

The Mustangs struck hard and fast, scoring their first goal about two minutes into the game. They played forcefully the first part of the game, controlling the ball on Salida’s end of the field, and taking several unsuccessful shots on goal.

About half way through the first half, Salida was able to shift the momentum back, putting some pressure on the Mustangs, before the game moved into a more back and forth between the two teams.

Manitou Springs scored their second goal at 11:27 to go up 2-0.

Salida had a penalty kick shot on goal at 10:25, but it sailed wide right.

“A goal there would have been great for us,” Oswald said. “When the score is 2-0, it can be tough, but 2-1 and you start thinking about how the game can shift.”

The Mustangs scored their third goal at 5:51 to go up 3-0.

Salida had one more good shot on goal before the end, with about three minutes left, but the Manitou Springs goalkeeper deflected the shot.

“The performance of some of our younger players today, showed us things we didn’t know. They really stepped up and let the game pull some good stuff out of them,” Oswald said.

Salida played strong defense in the second half, slowing the Mustangs down.

They scored their fourth goal at 28:33 off a corner kick.

“We had so many guys step up tonight, I can’t pick just one guy for the man of the match,” Oswald said. “Every kid on the squad tonight, they are all the man of the match. I just want to say thank you to them for their hard work during a tough game.”

This loss sets the Spartans up at 3-2-1 for the season, and 2-2 in the 3A Tri-Peaks league.

Manitou Springs is 5-2 overall and 3-1 in the Tri-Peaks league.

Salida will travel to Cañon City to play the Tigers (3-1-1) in a non-league match Saturday.