Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera South’s Arturo Zavala controls the ball in the middle of the field against Madera on Tuesday. Zavala scored both goals in a 2-0 victory.
The Madera South Stallions boys soccer team extended its home unbeaten streak to 22 matches with a 2-0 victory over the Madera Coyotes to open the County/Metro Athletic Conference.
Two goals from Arturo Zavala was enough to give the Stallions the victory Tuesday at Madera South.
“It’s very important to get the first win,” Madera south head coach Enrique Garcia said. “Coming off a stellar year with a much different team, we’re 10-4-2. This was a much-needed win, especially against a strong Div. II opponent that has been competitive against Div. I school. Knowing that Madera was going to be competitive, if we could put ourselves in good position, we’ll be dangerous in league.”
The Stallions, who won the Div. III NorCal State Championship and the Central Section Championship last season, are playing with a target on their backs, but this is a new team, insists Garcia.
“We don’t pay attention to the noise,” Garcia said. “We’re a new team. These boys are different than last year. That’s one thing we preached. These guys have their own goals to win something. Yes, we can have the targets on our backs, which I don’t think is fair for these boys, but they will live up to it. They want to and they are hungry and look forward to winning the CMAC.”
“It’s important to get that rhythm going in with a win, especially against (the types of) teams we are going against and if we want to run the table,” Zavala said.
Madera head coach Nic Landeros said he was proud of the way his team stepped up its play and hopes to use this as a step in the right direction for the rest of the CMAC season.
“These rivalry games are always tough,” he said “It could go either way. Unfortunately, it was not our night tonight. You can’t discredit the effort from the boys. It was definitely there. We had some good chances.
“We will watch the film and make the adjustments. They are going to take this loss. It will eat at them, but we get to turn around and do it again on Friday. Hopefully, we can get a different result.”
Madera South started off the match putting pressure on Madera goalkeeper Francisco Segovia.
In the second minute, David Salas got the ball on a bounce and sent a quick shot on goal. The ball hit the outside edge of the left post and went out of bounds.
A minute later, Zavala got a shot off after three other players tried to shoot on goal. Zavala’s shot went wide right.
On a free kick from Salas, Joel Hernandez’s header was caught in the fourth minute.
The Stallions finally broke through in the fifth minute. Zavala got the ball on the right from Salas after a Coyote player slipped on the turf. Zavala went one-on-one with the keeper and shot by the right leg of Segovia and into the net.
“The first goal was a well-played pass from my teammate,” Zavala said. “It was unlucky the defender slipped, but I had to capitalize on that.”
“That first goal was very important,” Garcia said. “We missed too many opportunities in the first five minutes. We had three opportunities. It was important to get it in so we didn’t get frustrated. Getting that goal set the tone to move the ball well and open up lanes. They had to change their style of play because we were up.”
“The early goal hurt,” Landeros said. “Our center back slipped. That’s just unlucky. If they don’t score in the first five minutes, the tactical chess match begins and we can attack more. Any time you play against coach Enrique, it’s a chess match.”
The Stallions had a chance to add to their lead in the 23rd minute. Edgar Arvizu got the ball in the middle and sent a pass to his right for Vasquez, whose shot went just wide of the far post.
Two minutes later, Madera had a chance off a Nick Gonzalez free kick. The kick went across the face of the goal and Miguel Gutierrez got a head on it, but the ball was blocked and cleared out.
In the 26th minute, Madera South’s Daniel Maciel got the ball in front and shot on goal. His shot was stopped by Segovia, who flew in for the block. Zavala’s rebound shot went wide right.
Both teams battled without a quality scoring chance until about 10 minutes were left in the match.
Again, Maciel got the ball in front and raced in with a scoring chance. His shot was blocked by an oncoming Segovia. However, the ball found the right foot of Zavala and he sent it into the back of the net for the insurance goal in the 28th minute.
“The second one is being there for the second ball,” Zavala said. “It was being aware of where the ball could go.”
The Coyotes, had desparate chances on goal go by the wayside. Jonah Hill’s 35-yard shot on goal hit the crossbar in the 38th minute and Hill’s open shot on goal went wide to the right corner in the 39th minute.