By Chuck Reherman
Yukon head coach Neil Hilton knew it was only a matter of time before Gilberto Velasco would have “his break-out game.”
It came in the season opener Tuesday night.
Velasco scored a hat trick and the Millers came up with key defensive stops to beat Moore 3-1 at Miller Stadium.
The Millers had just played Moore in the annual Spring Thaw just four days previous and won 4-1, but faced a tougher challenge this time from the Lions, who came in full strength.
The macth was 0-0 until Velasco gave the Millers the go-ahead score less than nine minutes into the second half.
“It was a nice way to start the season, it was exciting as always,” Hilton said. “When we play Moore it is always a tight game and they were a diffderent team than they were on Saturday which I expected. It was just a really entertaining game.
“I feel like we had the majority of the chances,” Hilton said. “We when we were winning the ball we had the chances to put them away and we didn’t, so we need to learn from there.
“It was just awesome and is good to be back out here and playing soccer.”
The contest did get a little tight late in the match when Moore’s Jackson Curtis scored on a penalty kick in the 75th minute.
That didn’t last long as Valasco answered with his third goal of the night, scoring on a breakaway from 20-yards out at the 79:57 mark.
After a scoreless first half, Velasco broke the deadlock with a free kick just outside the goal box. Velasco’s shot was to the upper corner and Moore goal keeper Xander Brophy got his hand on the ball and tipped it up. The ball, though, hit the crossbar and came back down breaking the plane.
Moore had a chance to tie on a shot from Pablo Becerra. The shot was deflected, he rebounded and shot a second time, but was saved.
The Millers took a 2-0 lead at the 55:29 mark when Velasco beat his defender and pushed the ball past the keeper.
Moore had another serious chance to cut into the lead at the 67:53 mark, but keeper Caden Allen made a diving save.
“We made it difficult on ourselves late in the game,” Hilton said. “We were in full control of the game and we give up a silly PK which was just poor defending. We bounced back from it and came down and scored.
“It was a good game, I felt like we controlled the game for the most part,” he said. “If we put our chances away, we might have scored six or seven. We just have to be better at finishing our chances. It should have been 4-0 or more, we had a lot chances to put the game to bed and we have to learn from that.”
YHS hosts Southmoore on Tuesday.