Coyotes drop close match to Tigers
Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera’s Joad Enriquez-Blanco tries to get a shot off past the foot of an Edison defender during Wednesday’s loss.
Despite a close and contested battle, the Madera Coyotes boys soccer team came up short in a County/Metro Athletic Conference clash at home 1-0.
The Edison-Fresno Tigers and the Coyotes went head-to-head on a chilly night at Memorial Stadium, jostling in terms of standings within the CMAC.
Unfortunately, for the Coyotes, a lack of bite in attack cost the team throughout the night. Edison scored early in the first half and made that one goal stand up for the rest of the game. The Coyotes had trouble recovering from the early mistake and battling back.
“I thought the boys played well against a strong team that is well coached. We just couldn’t find the back of the net, we couldn’t score. In soccer, the thing that matters the most at the end is who was able to get the ball into the back of the net,” Madera Coyotes head coach Nic Landeros said. “I noticed we didn’t have enough belief in ourselves and it showed throughout the night. We need to find our confidence not only in attack but overall, but our boys are tough and they know how to bounce back.”
Landeros saw the positives of his squad, as he has all season, but lately, the Coyotes have been struggling up front.
A combination of injuries and illnesses have contributed to a disjointed attack that although is worrisome as the team is dropping potential victories, it shows that the Coyotes are almost there in terms of fitness.
Despite not having a full squad for a part of the season, the Coyotes are strong all over the pitch.
Against Edison, a few players stood out to Landeros and his staff.
“We don’t make excuses but it has been difficult with injuries and COVID protocols. The safety of our players is the most important, but it has been tough,” Landeros said. “Usually in the past a player gets a cold, he might be out for a day or even try to play through it, but now it is much different.”
Junior midfielder Joad Enriquez-Blanco was one of a few bright spots for the Coyotes on what was a dreary night. Enriquez-Blanco’s creativity and work rate in midfield was key as the Coyotes kept the game close throughout. His ability to read the game and collaborate with his teammates was key.
Madera’s Elias Zuniga also put in a top performance as the defender was key despite the Coyotes losing on the night 1-0. Zuniga’s contributions to the team are well known not just by his teammates, but the opponents and fans alike.
“They really played well for us and gave us a chance throughout the game. We weren’t playing our best overall,” Landeros said. “Edison executed their gameplan well and we couldn’t find the back of the net and overall the difference.”
Leonel Marquez and Adrian Alvarado also contributed as well on the defensive end of the pitch. The pair provided Landeros and the Coyotes with an experience pair in the back and facing a tough, well-coached Edison team was no easy task.
“We want to focus on the mindset. When we make an early mistake, we have to understand there is a lot of time left to get back into the game. We want them to play and not worry about misplacing a pass or making a mistake,” Landeros said. “It’s about getting the next opportunity and that is something we are going to stress to our boys.”
The Coyotes have a ways to go before the end of the season in terms of reaching their goals. With a tough schedule and a cloudy future due to COVID complications, the goals and mission never changes for Madera.
When the Coyotes step onto the pitch, the goal is to win and when the Coyotes are thinking about the CMAC and playoffs, the expectations to win don’t change either.