Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera’s Jonah Hill gets ready for a shot during Tuesday’s loss to El Diamate. He scored Madera’s lone goal in the loss.
The Madera Coyotes boys soccer team made two critical errors in first half of its season opener against El Diamante-Visalia and the Minors made it stand up in a 2-1 victory in Memorial Stadium.
El Diamante scored a goal two minutes into the match and added another in the 34th minute for a 2-0 halftime lead. Both goals were scored by a defensive mistake, the second coming off a steal on a backwards pass.
“Those two mistakes were definitely the difference,” head coach Nic Landeros said. “Other than that, we played a good game. We are still a pretty new team. We are not young, but we have some guys that are new to varsity so the speed of play is different. It’s going to take some time to mesh and get the nerves out to see they can actually play at this level.”
The Coyotes battled back with chances in the second half before Jonah Hill cut the lead in half with a goal in the 29th minute. However, the Coyotes couldn’t add to their total.
“Jonah’s goal was a good goal for us,” Landeros said. “We have to keep working and moving on. It’s the first game of the season. We made some adjustments at halftime and we started getting more chances. The looks were there.”
Goalkeeper Francisco Segovia had three key saves in the final half of the second half to keep the Coyotes in the match.
“Our biggest problem was their mentality was to not make a mistake so their easiest pass was backwards,” Landeros said. “We were trying to get in their head to move forward the get the offense moving.”
Just two minutes into the match, El Diamante got a through ball to the left in front of a Coyotes’ defender. The Miners’ striker sent the ball to the far corner to beat Segovia for the early goal.
Madera’s Ryan Da Rocha had a 30-yard free kick go straight to the goalkeeper in the 18th minute. In the 27th minute, Hill took the ball down the left side and sent a cross for Adrian Rocha that was just missed from in front of the goal. On the ensuing corner kick, Juan Borbon’s shot was caught.
Madera had possession in front of Segovia and was trying to up the offense in the 34th minute. However, a lazy pass resulted in an El Diamante steal in front of the goal. The Miners sent the ball across to the left and fired into the open net for a 2-0 lead.
Madera had two more chances in the final four minutes, but William Bispham’s cross to Jared Herrera was just missed and Bispham’s header on goal was caught.
Five minutes into the second half, Da Rocha had a free kick from 25 yards out at the left corner of the goalkeeper’s box. He sent a pass in front, but Hill’s header was caught.
Two minutes later, Da Rocha sent a free kick pass to Ivan Lopez, who sent it back to Da Rocha. His shot was deflected out and the ensuing corner kick was cleared out by El Diamante.
The chances kept coming for the Coyotes. Borbon intercepted an El Diamante throw-in and his 20-yard shot went high. Christian Garcia’s defected shot on goal was deflected out of bounds. Hill’s shot on goal after a free kick went high in the 27th minute.
However, Hill got his shot in the 29th minute. He got the ball on the left side of the goalkeeper’s box and sent a missile to the opposite corner for the goal and cut the lead to 2-1.
Unfortunately, the Coyotes couldn’t get another scoring opportunity in the final 11 minutes. Segovia did his best to keep the Coyotes within a goal. In the 34th minute, he came out on a one-and-one with a slide and blocked a shot out of danger. In extra time, he came out again with a sliding save to keep the match close.
Madera hosted Buchanan-Clovis on Friday at 5 p.m. in Memorial Stadium.