Amsterdam’s Jeremy Rosado, right, controls the ball down the right wing as Johnstown’s Tyler Benton (19) tries to chase him down during Tuesday’s game at Lynch Literacy Academy. (Adam Shinder/Recorder staff)
By ADAM SHINDER
For a team that hadn’t won a game heading into Tuesday night, there had been plenty of ups and downs for the Amsterdam High School boys soccer team through the first seven games of its 2017 season.
The Rams had some solid performances in spite of the results — case in point, a one-goal loss last week to Foothills Council South Division leader Scotia-Glenville — only to follow them up with a couple of frustrating efforts. It was all part of the process of learning how to become a winning team, Rams coach Chris Modelowski said, and it paid off Tuesday night with a four-goal performance from striker Ever Arevalo leading the charge in a 5-1 win over Johnstown at Lynch Literacy Academy.
“I think that’s part of learning to win,” Modelowski said. “The goal is that hopefully from this, we can start building on it and, whether we’re winning or losing, be competitive every time out.”
Arevalo, a sophomore originally from El Salvador, had a career-best performance for Amsterdam (1-7, 1-6 Foothills) with a pair of goals in each half. He also assisted on Kevin Vargas’ goal, with Vargas adding two assists of his own.
The creative partnership between Arevalo and Vargas at the top of the Amsterdam formation has given the Rams a bigger offensive spark than they’ve had previously in Modelowski’s tenure, but the third-year coach was waiting for a night like Tuesday where the duo played a little more freely.
“We weren’t creative enough, we were just going direct and straight up the field,” Modelowski said. “That’s what I was looking for: Being confident on the ball, playing it, and then whatever happens, happens.”
That more swashbuckling approach paid off in the 10th minute when, just after Johnstown had a near breakthrough with a header off the crossbar, Amsterdam put together a brilliant team goal. Randy Spraker played the ball up the left wing to Vargas, who laid the ball back into the midfield for Antonio Reyes, who played a defense-splitting pass that sent Arevalo in on goal for a left-footed finish.
Eleven minutes later, Vargas played in Arevalo, who again fired with his left foot to beat Johnstown (0-6, 0-6) goalie Alex VanDeusen.
Five minutes into the second half, Arevalo played a perfect through ball that set up Vargas for a goal, and four minutes after that Arevalo received a pass from Spraker and hit a spectacular shot with the outside of his left boot that swerved into the side netting.
Arevalo completed his hat trick with 10:32 to play when he tapped home a low cross from Vargas.
“It seems like Kevin and Ever would really open up once the game was out of reach and they felt more comfortable,” Modelowski said. “I was working hard on both of them making sure that they’re comfortable (all the time) and they just go right off the bat. They took it to heart.”
Amsterdam moved midfielder Yony Batres to goalkeeper Tuesday, making him the fourth different player the Rams have used at that spot this season. Despite a few close calls, he only needed to make one save and nearly recorded the shutout before Johnstown’s Matthew Boyle broke loose on a counterattack and scored with 6:24 to play, salvaging something on a tough night for the Sir Bills.
VanDeuesen made eight saves for Johnstown, which lost a key player to injury when Christian Solby exited in the seventh minute, but the Sir Bills couldn’t exert any extended control.
“This year we’re really struggling putting together a full game,” Sir Bills coach Tommy Horning said. “We’ll get a five-minute run, and then we’ll take 10 off. We lose full games.”