Talented park City boys continue to win
Sometimes standing in place is the most effective way of moving forward. Adding a few gifted players to an already dangerous soccer team doesn’t hurt either.
Park City High School Boys soccer team looks much improved this season, in spite of the fact that it has made no wholesale changes to the roster that lost in the 3-A State semifinals last season to Waterford. Having strung together multiple convincing wins, including a 2-0 win over Union on Wednesday, March 22, the "new" team has been very competitive so far, its only loss was to Alta, the No. 2 team in 5-A, and will only get better with time. Some key players are gone, most notably all-state goalkeeper Rock Christeson, but the core group remains mostly intact, as all-state players Austin Blais, the team’s captain and defensive anchor; and Reid Baker, a supremely skilled midfielder, head a talented nucleus of returning seniors who contributed to the team’s success last season.
Of course, there are some new faces on the varsity team, mostly juniors who starred on the junior varsity team last season. One of these up-and-comers is forward A.J. Gitlin, who scored four goals in the team’s first two preseason games. Ryan Lynsky, also a junior, is doing an admirable job filling in for the departed Christeson. Perhaps the most noticeable addition to the squad this season, however, is Roberto "Betu" Linck, a dynamic midfielder who moved from Brazil to Salt Lake City before coming to Park City.
Linck, like most of the Park City players, honed his skills in Salt Lake City playing for prestigious club teams. He battled against, or alongside, many of his current teammates. Linck joined midfielder Ryan Williams the fall before last on the under-17 Sparta Premier team, and this past fall, together with Baker and defender Matt Knoop, played for the under-18 Inter Premiere team, a powerhouse not only in Utah, but also on the national scene. Additionally, Linck has taken advantage of the Olympic Development Program (ODP), and this year he and Baker were two of the six players from the Boys 88 team to make the ODP Region IV pool.
Linck and company form an extremely talented bunch and they put their talent on display on against Union, but one does not get that impression by simply looking at the score.
Park City came away with a 2-0 victory against Union, a somewhat underwhelming result against a team known for being easy prey on the soccer field. Steven Hart scored the team’s first goal near the end of the first half off of a short cross by Linck, and freshman Tommy Martin headed the second goal home on a corner kick by Hart with approximately five minutes to play. The Miners did not play poorly, however.
"We dominated from the very beginning, but it probably took about 30 shots [to score two goals]," Guetschow said.
Of course, Union did have a hand in Park City’s inability to score or at least to score as much as it would have liked.
"Their goalie made some outstanding saves," Guetschow remarked.
Steven Hart scored the team’s first goal late in the first half off of an assist by Linck. Guetschow admits that putting the ball in the back of the net is not the team’s strongest suit at this point on time, though he believes that improvement in this area will come with practice. "I think it’s just about getting outside and improving our finishing." With so many playmakers on board (Baker, Linck, Williams, and Hart, just to name a few,) there will be plenty of scoring chances, and if the team can start converting on more of these, look out.
The junior varsity team also defeated Union, doing so by a very comfortable margin of 4-0. Austin Stevens, Tony Lacito, Murray Hawker and Michael Glenn each scored in the victory. The heart of the junior varsity team is mostly comprised of capable freshmen and sophomores, many of whom have a future and for some the present on the varsity team.
Park City’s next game is against long-time rival Wasatch on Friday, March 24 at 3:30 in the afternoon at Wasatch.
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