It was over and over quickly.
Mullen’s foray into the second round of the Class 4A boys soccer playoffs came with lots of anticipation, pride and determination, but fizzled almost from the opening whistle.
On a chilly Tuesday night at Denver North’s all-purpose field that sits near the top of Speer Boulevard and comes with a gorgeous view of the Denver skyline, the host Vikings rolled the Mustangs 6-1 in a no-doubter.
The 11th-seeded Vikings are 13-3-1 and will take on No. 3 Skyview, which downed Erie 4-2, in the quarterfinals. No. 27 Mullen ended 9-7-1 and didn’t really have time to realize what hit it.
The Vikings found the back of the net just 40 seconds into the match, made it 2-0 in the seventh minute, 3-0 in the 17th and 4-0 in the 20th.
It was that quick, that simple and Mustangs head coach Matthew Guglielmo offered no excuses.
“It was over really quick, probably, like, at (3-0),” he said. “To give up a goal in (40) seconds is not good. It was stunning.”
It was. On the first possession, the Vikings forced it into the left corner, came out and scored. Denver North’s second goal was the result of a centering pass that the Mullen defense didn’t handle, the third goal generally let the air out of the Mustangs and the fourth came off a penalty kick.
The opening-seconds goal demanded the Mustangs regroup, Guglielmo said, “but then almost by the time you even realize what happened, there was another one.”
In insisting his plan for the Mustangs failed and the early barrage was nearly “a direct result of the plan,” he said, “I thought there was teaching, but there wasn’t any learning and it wasn’t the right plan.”
In all, he added, “(the Vikings) were good, deserved to move on and you have to give full credit to them. They took it to us.”
Mullen got on the board in the 30th minute on a goal by senior Kyle Cooper on a penalty kick. The Mustangs had hoped to add another before the half to at least turn it into a competitive situation, but never finished.
Into the second half, the Vikings added two more scores, one on a penalty kick, and cleared their bench with 15 minutes to play.
“If you don’t play well in these games, it’s over, there’s finality to it,” Guglielmo said. “It was still a good season, there were some big wins and the guys were great. You don’t want it to end like this. We had hopes of going considerably farther than this, but no one beats us 6-1, even the teams in the (Centennial league) don’t beat us 6-1. But it was just a bad day for us not to show up.”
Mullen will lose just two seniors from this year’s group for 2020, so “we bring back a lot,” the coach