Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera South’s Abraham Vasquez battles a pair of Golden Valley defenders during Tuesday’s win over the Cougars.
All it took was a swing of his right foot and Madera South’s Jose Arreola turned a potential scoreless tie into a Stallions boys soccer victory in Memorial Stadium.
Both the Stallions and the Golden Valley-Merced were locked in a scoreless game. It almost seemed like the teams were destined to head to overtime because neither team could get any good chances on goal.
With about 10 minutes left in the match, Jose Arreola put in the deciding goal to give the Stallions the 1-0 victory Tuesday afternoon.
“The defense gets to take a majority of the credit today,” coach Fernando Delgadillo said. “Offensively, we couldn’t get anything going on. Even in the midfield, there wasn’t any creativity. Maybe it was a sleepy day because of the time. I don’t know what to blame it on. It was not a good performance.”
Both teams couldn’t put a quality shot on goal in the first half.
Ten minutes into the second half, Madera South goalkeeper Alex Morales made a diving stop on a ball in front. He caught the ensuing corner kick to keep Golden Valley off the scoreboard.
Eight minutes later, Christian Garcia got the ball on the left and sent a ball in front. David Vasquez jumped to put a head on the ball to the net, but the shot was caught.
In the 24th minute, Morales caught a 30-yard free kick from Golden Valley.
Then, came the penultimate sequence. Golden Valley got a breakaway. They had Morales beat and shot on goal. The ball bounced off the left goalpost and the Stallions countered.
Off a corner kick on the right, the ball found Garcia on the opposite side of the field. He sent the ball to the middle to Arreola. While falling backwards, Arreola swung his leg and struck the ball on goal. The ball went into the left side of the net for a 1-0 lead in the 29th minute.
“It all started with Golden Valley hitting the post,” Delgadillo said. “Soccer is a cruel sport. You miss a one-on-one like that, the pendulum swings the other way. We were lucky to get an opportunity and put it away. That made a difference in the game. Getting that goal took the pressure off of ourselves. Also, the quality of our bench is key in matches like this. We had kids come off the bench made the difference at the end of the second half. Kudos to the squad to pull off the victory even when we don’t play our best.”
The Stallions had two more chances in the final 10 minutes to add an insurance goal. Vasquez shot from the outside was blocked out by the Golden Valley keeper. Then, Carlos Cardenas sent a ball across to Jose Chavez in front, but Chavez’s shot went over the crossbar.
Golden Valley had one final chance in extra time. A free kick from about 25 yards out was headed out of bounds. On the ensuing corner kick, Arreola headed the ball up the field for the clear and secure the victory.