Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera South’s Christian Garcia works to keep possession of the ball during Tuesday’s playoff win over Roosevelt. Garcia scored the game-winning goal in Tuesday’s match.
The Madera South boys soccer team scored in the final 10 minutes of a hard-fought match to upend the Roosevelt-Fresno Rough Riders 1-0 in the first round of the Central Section Div. II boys soccer playoffs at Lee DaSilva Field in Memorial Stadium.
“They stepped up, it was a challenging game,” Madera South head coach Enrique Garcia said. “We talked about how they were going to be a good team. They beat us twice. We knew it was going to be a great game. We just had to defend proper and get something going up top.”
After a back and forth first half, the seventh seeded Stallions knew they were in for a fight. The Rough Riders, seeded 10th, have played well against Madera South in the past and Tuesday’s match was no different.
With neither team able to grab a foothold, both squads looked to their leaders to make the difference and for Madera South, their prayers were answered.
Oscar Galindo dribbled around two Rough Riders before a third committed a foul and brought him down. Just outside the penalty area, Galindo took his place for the kick.
The Stallions’ energy had picked up the previous 15 minutes, leading to one of their best chances of the game. With a packed box, both teams converged on the free kick, Galindo launched the ball into the penalty box, hoping a teammate could connect with the swerving ball.
Luckily for Madera South, captain Christian Garcia came to his team’s rescue with a towering header that flew past the Roosevelt keeper and into the net for the game-winning goal. Garcia, along with his teammates swarmed the Stallion b,ench in jubilation with 10 minutes left in regulation.
Although the Stallions had a lone goal on the night, they had their chances throughout the match.
Unsurprisingly, Garcia and Kevin Osuna were the genesis of their first opportunity on goal. In the 19th minute, Garcia darted down the right wing before he crossed the ball to Osuna who charged into the box.
The ball came in low, fast and directly to Osuna in the middle of the six-yard box. Under intense pressure from the Roosevelt back line, Osuna swung and missed the ball, squandering a vital opportunity
Garcia offered the Stallions another chance only moments later after the official blew for a Stallion free kick on the 20-yard line. Galindo surveyed the opponent’s final third before he was brought down.
Garcia stepped up and nearly delivered the first goal of the game. His shot flew over the Roosevelt wall and just over the crossbar and out.
The Rough Riders, on the other hand, had chances few and far between. Roosevelt’s best chance came in the final minutes of the first half.
Roosevelt sent a free kick into the box where a Rough Rider forward was waiting. He got his foot to the ball and nearly knocked it in. The shot lacked the power needed, allowing Stallion keeper, Segovia, to kick the ball out of danger for just a second before Diego Hipolito slid in and kicked the ball out of the penalty area.
Although the Stallions faced some adversity on the first round of the playoffs, that can only help them moving forward Garcia said.
“Without a doubt, we knew that this game was going to be one of the toughest games, but it only gets harder from here and we are ready for what’s next,” Garcia said.