Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera South’s David Vasquez dribbles the ball up the field during Friday’s victory over Merced. He scored one of Madera South’s three goals.
The Madera South boys soccer team pulled away in the second half for a 3-1 victory against Merced at Madera South’s new stadium.
It was a bounce-back win for the Stallions on Friday, who were looking to clean up their mistakes after a 4-2 loss against Chowchilla in their previous game.
“We’ve always expected Merced to have a talented team,” Madera South head coach Enrique Garcia said. “They’re a physical team, but I knew that it’s a game we could win.”
The Stallions, the defending Div. III NorCal State and Central Section champions, had a chance to score the game’s first goal on a free kick in the eighth minute. However, a shot from Arturo Zavala sailed over the bar. In the 14th minute, Zavala found Gustavo Arzola, who snuck the ball just inside the left post to make it 1-0.
Madera South appeared to have a second goal when Arzola scored off a rebound in the 31st minute. However, Madera South was called offside and the goal was nullified.
Merced took its first corner of the game in the 33rd minute, but they elected to play the ball short and wasted the chance without getting a shot on goal. The Bears came up empty on another free kick before halftime, taking the teams to the break with a 1-0 Stallions’ lead.
Arzola had a chance to add to the lead at the start of the second half, but his shot from close range was blocked by the goalkeeper in front of goal.
After the Bears tied the game on a free kick in the 46th minute, Madera South’s David Vasquez answered in the 57th minute. Vasquez dribbled past the defenders and found the target for a 2-1 lead.
Javier Buenrostro put the game away in the 78th minute with a shot from 15 yards out.
Garcia felt better about his team’s performance in the second half.
“We moved the ball better. We stopped trying to dribble so much, created more lanes and more opportunities,” Garcia said.
Although he is happy with the team’s fitness early in the season, Garcia wants to see better communication.
“We don’t even talk. It’s a real quiet game,” Garcia said. “That’s something that we’re going to fix for next game.”