Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera South’s Joseph Cuevas uses his foot a different way to set up the Stallions’ offense in a 3-2 victory over Hoover on Tuesday.
After an own goal tied the match, the Madera South Stallions got a free kick goal with eight minutes left in the match for a season-opening victory over the Hoover-Fresno Patriots in Memorial Stadium.
The Patriots came out and scored the first goal of the match in the second minute and then tied it when a Madera South header went into the Hoover net in the 20th minute of the second half.
“Hats off to Hoover,” head coach Fernando Delgadillo said. “They always come physical and ready to play. I’m really impressed with their coaching staff. They’ve come a long way from the Hoover we played last year. They’re impressive and a quality team.”
Nathan Diaz and Abraham Vasquez scored goals to give the Stallions the lead, but it was a free kick goal from Christian Garcia that gave the Stallions the lead.
The Stallions controlled the match thanks to the work of their midfielders.
“It’s part of the formation we run to put a lot of pressure on our midfielders that they dictate the tempo of the game,” Delgadillo said. “That’s exactly what they did. We have a couple of kings to work out before our next game. This is what the first game is for. We’ll go back to the drawing board. We like to play Stallion soccer no matter who we play. We want to dictate possession and tempo. We want to work it to our advantage.”
In the second minute of the game, Hoover shot from 30-yards out and it surprised goalkeeper Mark Davila and went into the right corner of the net for a 1-0 lead.
Madera South had a chance to tie the score six minutes later. Steven Arvizu got the ball in front. Garcia beat the keeper to the ball, but couldn’t get a good shot off and the keeper came back to cover the ball.
However, in the 23rd minute, Diaz put away a shot from about 18 yards out on the right into the left side of the net. Garcia set up the goal with a take out slide and sent the ball out to Diaz.
The Stallions took the lead six minutes into the second half. Vasquez got the ball in the middle, settled and shot from just outside the goalkeeper’s box. The ball went high, just under the crossbar for a 2-1 lead.
Midway through the second half, Hoover threw the ball into the front of the Madera South net. A Madera South defender tried to head the ball out and slightly missed. The ball went up and over Davila’s arms into the net for an own goal to tie the match at two.
In the 32nd minute, the Stallions scored the go-ahead goal. Diaz drew a yellow card just outside the goalkeeper’s box on the left. Garcia sent the free kick on goal, off a defender and into the net to surprise the Patriots and give the Stallions the 3-2 win.
“What I noticed was that we never asked for 10 yards so we’re free to kick the ball at any time,” Delgadillo said. “Their goalkeeper seemed like he was getting situated. I looked at my player and said give it a shot. We have nothing but a goal to gain from this. He didn’t get the best of strikes. All we ask is for him to put it on frame and that’s what he did and it ended up in the net.”
Madera South is playing in the Cats and Hounds Tournament in Atascadero today and next hosts Selma on Tuesday at 5 p.m. in Memorial Stadium.