Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera’s Nick Gonzalez battles a Selma defender for possession during Friday’s 2-2 tie. Gonzalez scored the game-tying goal in the final seconds of the match.
Nick Gonzalez struck the ball with authority for the Madera Coyotes boys soccer team and it found the back of the net to force a 2-2 tie with the Selma Bears in a non-conference match in Memorial Stadium.
After Selma scored a pair of goals four minutes apart in the second half for the lead, Gonzalez hit the equalizer in the 80th minute and forced two 10-minute overtimes, which neither team scored Friday night.
“That shows the confidence we have in the game plan,” head coach Nick Landeros said of Gonzalez’s goal. “To go down to the last minute and score the equalizer, that shows how hard we’ve been working and the boys investing in the system and game plan. It was pretty impressive to get the equalizer.
Jonah Hill scored in the first half and assisted on Gonzalez’s goal. However, it was a pair of defensive miscues that gave the Bears the lead in the second half.
“A team that is well-coached like Selma, if you make a mistake, they will put it away,” Landeros said. “For the most part, we kept everything in front. They didn’t have too many crazy chances. We were winning a lot in the middle of the field and we had the better chances on the night.”
Madera had the first real chance midway through the first half. On a free kick from about 35-yards out, Da Rocha sent a shot on goal, but it hit the crossbar. Hill was right there for the rebound and hit the ball inside the right corner for the first goal.
Fifteen minutes later, Jiovanni Gil tried to head out a Selma free kick. Selma hit the rebound on goal, but goalkeeper Francisco Segovia hit the shot over the net to keep the lead.
In the second half, Selma got on the board in the eighth minute. The Bears intercepted a Madera pass in front of their own goal. The Bears got the ball to the right and shot inside the left post for the match-tying goal.
Just four minutes later, the Bears got the ball to the right corner ahead of two Coyote defenders. The Bears’ attacker launched the ball into the far left corner over Segovia into the back of the net for a 2-1 lead.
Madera came back in the 15th minute when Miguel Gutierrez got the ball on the right and launched a 30-yard shot on goal. The Selma goalkeeper batted the ball over the net to preserve the lead.
On the ensuing corner kick, Gonzalez touched the ball for Da Rocha, whose one-touch shot on goal was caught. Madera earned another corner kick and Da Rocha sent the shot in front of the goal, but Gonzalez’s header was caught.
Madera kept the pressure up with its fourth chance in four minutes. Just outside the goalkeeper box, Gonzalez’s shot was caught.
In the 24th minute, Gonzalez got the ball in the middle and sent it to Hill in front. Hill’s shot went wide, just left.
Madera had another chance in the 32nd minute. Gonzalez sent a 30-yard free kick on goal to the right. The ball went off the Selma keeper out of bounds. The ensuing corner kick went out of bounds.
Three minutes later, on a throw-in, Elmer Garcia came in with a touch on the ball on goal, but it was stopped by the keeper.
Finally, the Coyotes found the back of the net in the final moments of the match. Miguel Gutierrez sent a throw-in to the head of Hill. With a defender covering Hill. Hill headed the ball behind him to Gonzalez in the middle. Gonzalez settled the ball and sent a shot over the goalkeeper’s head into the back of the net for the match-tying goal and forced overtime.
“We always work in and around the 18 to play that one touch,” Landeros said. “Any time Jonah’s back is to the goal, his job is to look for somebody and lay it off. That’s what happened. He laid it off to Nick and he hit it past the goalkeeper.”
In the first half of the overtime, Madera had a prime opportunity to take the lead. In the final minute, Hill got the ball in front on the left. He got a step in front of his defender and sent a shot on goal, but it hit off the goalpost.
Selma had a good chance at taking the lead four minutes into the second half of overtime. After a Madera yellow card, Selma’s free kick went on goal, but wide right.
Gonzalez had two chances to give the Coyotes the win in the second half of overtime, but his shot outside the box on the left went high and touched a free kick just over the crossbar to end the match in a tie.