The big question surrounding coach Michael Alvarez and his Carson High boys soccer team is replacing scoring machine Ryan Galvan.
Galvan scored 18 goals a year ago in leading the Senators to a third-place finish in the Sierra League and a playoff win over Spanish Springs before being eliminated by Galena in the semifinals. It was without a doubt, a good start for the new coach.
“It was nice,” said Alvarez, whose team hosts Reno on Sept. 2 at 7 p.m. in a crossover match. “When I took over I thought it was going to be a rebuilding year. I was very happy with what we accomplished.
“How do we replace Ryan? As great as he was last year, we replace it with overall quickness. Everybody on the team is quicker (this year). We have Guillermo (Hernandez), who played on an elite team after last season ended, and his skills have gotten better. Hopefully Abel (Sanchez) will step up.”
Hernandez scored seven goals a year ago, four in one game against Douglas. Alejandro Gonzalez is the leading returning scorer with 11 goals.
If the Senators can fill that scoring void, and Alvarez thinks they can, the Senators could find themselves in the playoffs again.
Alvarez returns 11 players from last year’s squad — defender Peter Garrett, midfielder Gonzalez, keeper Victor Guadardo, Hernandez, midfielder Rogelio Herrera, midfielder-forward Brian Llamas, defender Christian Martinez, keeper Efren Ramirez, defender Salvador Rodriguez, midfielder Jose Sepulveda and forward Oscar Ventura.
It’s a nice core group to build around, and then throw in midfielder Jonathan Garcia, midfielder Osvaldo Gomez, defender-midfielder Ernesto Llamas, midfielder Jonathan Limon, Guillermo Perez, midfielder Jaime Saldana and defender Luis Torres, all new varsity performers. It’s easy to see why Alvarez is a happy guy.
“What I like about this team is their enthusiasm and their skill,” Alvarez said. “They already have a great attitude toward the coming season. We have a good mix of experience and youth. The kids have played competitive soccer for years.
“My concern is the inability to communicate because of the mix of young players and veterans.”
If the season started tomorrow, Alvarez said Ramirez would be betwee the pipes, but he also didn’t rule out both keepers splitting time.
Martinez and Garrett both started on defense last year, which leaves Rodriguez, Torres, Morris and Brian Llamas to battle for the other two (2 goals) starting slots.
“Brian is capable of playing other spots,” Alvarez said.
Unofficially, Garrett and Martinez each scored a goal last season.
Limon, who didn’t play last year because of academic isues, will battle for playing time at center midfield with Garcia, Gonzalez and Sepulveda.
Saldana, Herrera (3 goals) Ernesto Llamas and Gomez are vying for outside midfield spots.
Up front is Hernandez, Ventura and Sanchez.
Based on returning players, Carson would figure to make the Sierra League playoffs again.
NOTES: Galena, Wooster and Damonte are expected to be strong again ... Alvarez is being assisted by Frank Martinez and Jorge Ortiz.