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Backups inspire Coyotes to victory

In a match that consisted of backups, the Madera Coyotes boys soccer team defeated San Joaquin Memorial-Fresno, 3-0, in Memorial Stadium.

The Coyotes started off quickly when Johnny Rodriguez sent in a low cross in the third minute. The cross was unable to find its target when the opposing defense stepped in to clear the ball.

However, the Coyotes’ strong start didn’t go unnoticed by Coyotes head coach Nic Landeros. “They definitely stepped up,” Landeros said. “They’ve been working hard and I always stress to them it’s not about if you get a chance, it’s about when you get your chance. We made a couple substitutes at halftime and they made a huge difference. We scored two second half goals, we haven’t had this feeling in a long time.”

The Coyotes nearly took the lead two minutes later when Rodriguez shot from 15 yards out. The shot was picked up by the Panther goalkeeper and cleared out of the final third.

The Coyotes scored the first goal of the game in the sixth minute. Raul Rivera received a long distance clearance from goalkeeper Juan Daza. Rivera raced down the pitch to gain possession. He met the ball in the opponent final third and chipped the ball over the advancing Panther goalkeeper to give his side a 1-0 lead.

The Panthers nearly tied the game at the end of the half when a Panthers forward shot past Daza. The ball deflected off the inside of the post and into Daza’s gloves for the save.

The game took a turn when Rivera received a red card with nearly 60 minutes remaining. While not called often, the rules stated the 
offense was punishable by an ejection.

“It’s tough, the boys shouldn’t say it,” Landeros said. “At the same time it’s not anything the referee hasn’t heard before. To me, referees can sometimes be a little sensitive. It is what it is, the rest of the team picked up their player when he made a mistake.”

Although the Coyotes were down a man in the second half, they dominated the scoreboard and possession.

The Coyotes scored in the first minute of the second half when Cedric Saldanas set up his teammate Eulices Cortes for the shot. Cortes controlled the ball and fired past the goalkeeper.

The Coyotes continued to pressure the Panther’s defense with long range efforts from 25 and 35 yards out. The shots were off target but kept the opposing defense on their heels.

The Panthers best chance came in the 29th minute from inside the penalty area but was blocked when Daza stood his ground to make the courageous save.

The Coyotes finished off the visitors with a penalty kick in the last minute of the match. Antonio Hernandez stepped up and buried the goal.


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