Apaches down Coyotes at home
Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera’s Elias Zuniga works the ball up the field during Friday’s loss to the Sanger Apaches.
Fresh off a dominant 5-3 win over San Joaquin Memorial-Fresno, the Madera Coyotes boys soccer team looked to recreate its magic in a heated County/Metro/Athletic Conference clash at Memorial Stadium.
Unfortunately, the Coyotes fell victim to not only the unpredictability of the CMAC, but its ruthlessness as well.
Regardless of who your opponent is, expect a dogfight in the CMAC, which is arguably the top boys soccer division in the Central Valley.
“The CMAC is tough and the games are not easy to win,” Madera Coyotes head coach Nic Landeros said. “You never know what to expect in this league. Every opponent knows how to game plan against one another and it’s always a dogfight.”
The Coyotes fought until the final whistle Friday evening, but against defending CMAC champions Sanger, there was always a mountain to climb.
The Apaches upended the Coyotes 4-1, with the Coyotes’ goal coming in the final minutes from a wonder strike by Captain Elmer Garcia.
The senior Coyote took it up himself in the dying minutes from 35 yards out, slotting the ball up and over the Apaches keeper after stepping up off his line.
“It was a nice consolation goal from Elmer and that just shows what he is capable of, but overall a tough game and opponent,” Landeros said.
For Landeros, the little things are separating the Coyotes from other programs. Madera has shown the ability to compete with any team, anywhere, but putting together a complete performance from beginning to end wasn’t a possibility against the Apaches after two goals in the first half put Madera in a hole.
Whether it was Elias Zuniga or Garcia, the Coyotes main playmakers were unable to find the necessary space to operate. The Apaches made it difficult for recent Coyotes’ goal-scoring threat, Joad Enriquez-Blanco. The Apaches closed down the space and made it difficult for the Coyotes to take over.
“When you see a top club like Sanger and a team like ours, it isn’t the tactics or the gameplan; the small details are missing for us. The technical details that I believe we need to fix in order to play the way we know we can and have shown,” Landeros said.
Despite losing to the league leaders 4-1 at Memorial Stadium, the Coyotes have much to play for including a potential playoff berth.
But as Landeros preaches to his boys, one game at a time.