Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera South forward David Vasquez works to set up a defender during a 2-2 tie to Sanger on Friday.
After splitting its first two games in the County/Metro Athletic Conference, the Madera South Stallion boys soccer team couldn’t find the formula in front of goal in a 2-2 draw with the Sanger Apaches at Memorial Stadium.
Madera South found the back of the net twice in the first half, but couldn’t find the target the rest of the way.
“It was just how organized we were. We played our formation, we played our style and we played the way we asked,” Madera South head coach Enrique Garcia said. “We just couldn’t find enough finishing.”
A questionable penalty at the beginning of the second half, after Madera South had a 2-1 lead, had an adverse effect on the game.
“I wouldn’t call it a soft penalty, but honestly I don’t see how you call that a penalty when it’s a deflection, but it is what it is,” Garcia said. “It gave them a second goal and it made the game interesting and fun.”
Abraham Vasquez and David Vasquez were on target Friday night in what was a long, intense game. The pair did their damage in the first half with the help of Christian Garcia and Jose Arreola, who provided assists to the goal scorers. But, in the second half, the Stallions were shooting blanks.
“What I will say is that we had too many opportunities that didn’t even hit frame,” Garcia said. “We had game winners that could’ve been put away. We just didn’t and that’s what hurt us tonight. We just couldn’t get those chances.”
For Sanger, the Apaches fought for every inch of artificial turf. Sanger came into the clash with a sub-par record, but in the CMAC, everyone gives you a fight and that’s exactly what they did.
After the Vasquez pair each scored in the first half, the Stallions held a 2-1 lead over the Apaches heading into the second half.
The Apaches were awarded a controversial penalty at the onset of the half after a deflection, putting the game right back in the middle for both teams to grab.
Madera South had their chances but couldn’t find the key ingredient.
Garcia almost scored a goal in the 52nd minute after Carlos Cardenas dribbled down the pitch all on his own before passing the ball past two defenders into the path of Garcia who was galloping down the wing. Garcia picked up the pass, dribbled into the box and fired, but couldn’t find the target as the ball sailed wide of the goal.
Garcia’s pressure continued towards the latter moments of regular time after he had a shot blocked by the Sanger goalkeeper. Garcia found himself all alone inside the box after a whipped in cross from the wing. Garcia stabbed at the ball but couldn’t lift it over the goalkeepers’ leg as the shot deflected out of bounds.
Both teams went into the overtime period with intense focus and determination. The first overtime period came and went without much drama, but the intensity began to increase in the second period.
Christian Meza hustled for a deflected ball in the penalty area and his determination forced the Sanger goalkeeper into a tough spot. The goalkeeper couldn’t hang onto the ball, allowing it to bounce freely in the penalty area momentarily.
Meza jumped up into the fray and nearly scored the game-winning goal after he was denied on the line by the Sanger defender.
As the teams jostled for position on the field, multiple Apache and Stallions players came together in a moment of frustration and angst to find that game-winning goal.
Warnings were issued and the atmosphere came to a halt as the final act for the Stallions came to an end after a free kick into the box went awry.