Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera South’s Kevin Osuna dribbles the ball up the field to lead the Stallions to a 3-2 victory Thursday over Atwater.
For the third match in a row, the Madera South Stallions boys soccer team found itself in a tight battle and, for the third full match in a row, the Stallions came away with a one-goal victory.
Twice, the Stallions took the early lead and came back to win, including Thursday’s 3-2 victory over Atwater in a non-conference afternoon match in Memorial Stadium. The Stallions also defeated Selma on Tuesday, 1-0.
“We see a lot of positive signs in these close matches,” head coach Fernando Delgadillo said. “Championship-caliber teams have the poise and composure to be up, tie and go back up. That’s what we get to see from the team. We see they are composed. They have the grit to close out a 1-0 match and we saw it today. Those are all signs that our team doesn’t let up and we continue to battle.”
The Stallions took the lead 10 minutes into the second half, but Atwater took advantage of miscommunication in the Stallions’ backfield to tie the score five minutes later.
Joseph Cuevas scored the game winner with three minutes left in the match.
“I always want to keep our defense sound,” Delgadillo said. “That’s what bothers me about this game. Our defense has to realize that when we go up again, it takes a lot of mental strength to keep their composure to do the easy work they do. Many times our tackles were lazy and we stopped communicating to each other. That’s what causes the issues in the back.”
The Stallions got on the scoreboard early in the match. In the fifth minute, Kevin Osuna got the ball in front of the goal. He settled the ball and fired a shot into the right corner for the first goal of the game.
In the 24th minute, Madera South missed out on a great opportunity to add to its lead. Cuevas crossed the ball in front. Bryant Chavez recovered the ball without a keeper in front of him. He shot on goal, but the ball was deflected by an Atwater defender on the goal line out of bounds.
Eight minutes into the second half, Atwater converted on a penalty kick to tie the match at one.
Two minutes later, the Stallions took the lead. Off a throw-in from Leonel Arvizu to the back post, Garcia shot inside the left post for the go-ahead goal.
Unfortunately, the lead didn’t last long. In the 15th minute, Atwater beat a Madera South defender on the right and passed the ball to the middle where another Atwater attacker got in front of two Madera South defenders. Atwater shot into the net by a diving Emmanuel Molina for the equalizer.
However, Molina remained on the turf after the goal was scored had to leave the match.
“He landed on his pinkie, which already had a fracture last year,” Delgadillo said. “He went to the emergency room right away because it seemed like it was the same finger.”
In the 34th minute, Madera South goalkeeper Mark Davila came out to make a save and then slid the ball clear to keep the match tied.
Madera South got its opportunity in the 37th minute. Arvizu threw the ball in and Garcia headed the ball behind him. Cuevas than shot off a bounce into the right side of the net to give the Stallions a 3-2 victory.
Madera South plays at Kerman on Monday and then at Fresno High on Wednesday.