Miners go into the Wasps’ nest
Park City head coach Caro Caro didn’t mince words when asked what today’s match against rival Wasatch means to his team.
"Just the name Wasatch gives us a reason to get pumped," he said. "We’re playing for our ticket to Rio Tinto (The site of this year’s 3A state championship) Wednesday. We’re playing basically our whole season.
"We basically want to win the season Wednesday."
As the Miners (5-2-1) ran their unbeaten streak to six matches with last Friday’s tough road win over region opponent Union 2-0, Park City is entering its annual showdown on the Wasps’ turf.
And Wasatch (6-1), last year’s 3A runner-up, is loaded with offensive talent this season.
Youngster Alex Espinoza, a miniscule midfielder for Wasatch, leads the team with eight goals in just seven matches this season including two notched against Judge Memorial on March 22, a game the Wasps dominated 4-0.
"I’ve seen (Espinoza) play very few times," Caro said. "(But) my team is able to adjust very quick. We’re pretty much prepared for individual players."
Caro said his team has a history of doing a good job corralling the opposing teams’ star players. Midfield general Eric Laufer will undoubtedly be asked to use his imposing size to help the Miners stifle any offensive fluidity by the Wasps.
Park City is coming off a stretch of six matches in which it has outscored its opponent 21-2. Caro said he has seen significant improvement from the defense, something he addressed earlier in the season after the team started off a shaky 0-2.
"The team looks good," he said. "Our defense has played very well and I’m very happy. It’s looking like this team is ready to go.
"I think we’re progressing. I have pretty much the idea of who’s going to start. I want to make sure we keep a strong defensive approach to each match."
The Miners defeated Waterford on the road 2-0 on March 18 before earning a tough 1-1 draw at Juan Diego against one of the better teams in 3A on March 21.
Park City’s first two Region 10 matches resulted in a 7-0 thrashing of American Leadership Academy on March 23 and a 2-0 victory at Union on March 25.
Caro said his team passed a difficult test in Friday’s win against the Cougars in Roosevelt, but added the home side looked significantly improved, a sign of better depth in Region 10 soccer.
"It was a tough team to play," he said. "They were pretty aggressive and they’re very tough. But they’re going to give any team they play a run for their money. We were surprised at how disciplined they were."
Senior midfielder/forward Anthony Alcox continues to be a goal-scoring machine with five in eight matches thus far this seaso. He is followed by the trio of Laufer, Keenan McCall and Bryan Park; each has scored three goals this year.
Caro said he is pleased with the overall offensive attack to this point, but is still waiting for a few of the younger players to make the impact he knows they can make.
He singled out sophomore striker Alejandro Viero, who has scored two goals this year and has the potential to change the score in an instant with his rifle outside shot. But Caro said it is hard for younger players to play loosely because they generally don’t wish to veer away from the team’s plan.
"(Viero) scored a beautiful goal against Union off of a corner kick," he said. "He has a shot. (But) sometimes he wants to please the older guys on the team."
As for today’s matchup in Heber, Caro said he is excited to see what comes after the 4 p.m. kickoff.
"Be ready to see a good show," he said.
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