Coyotes erase early deficit to force non-league tie
Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera’s Dylan Castro tries to get a past through the Kerman defense during a tie in Tuesday’s match in Memorial Stadium.
The Madera Coyotes boys soccer team was in the midst of a comeback effort against Kerman when the lights went out at Memorial Stadium.
The glitch happened as the teams were heading into overtime, tied 3-3 after regulation Tuesay evening.
When the lights came back after an extended delay, the referee decided to restrict the match to one 10-minute overtime session, as opposed to the normal two. The teams then failed to score in overtime and walked away with a 3-3 draw.
The Coyotes trailed 2-0 in the first 29 minutes of the game. But sophomore Elias Zuniga gave the Coyotes some life when he pounced on a loose ball in the box and converted Madera’s first goal of the game.
“The first two goals were mistakes on our part,” Madera head coach Nic Landeros said. “The message at halftime was, ‘Stick to the game plan and if you do that, you’ll be successful.’”
That’s exactly what the Coyotes did in the second half, creating several chances in the first few minutes after the break. Senior Jonah Hill found one of the chances in the 51st minute. But his shot from the left edge of the box sailed just over the bar. Five minutes later, Zuniga took a shot which also went over the goal.
The Coyotes found the equalizer in the 61st minute when Hill outhustled a couple of Kerman defenders to the ball and took a shot in front of goal to find the back of the net.
Kerman desperately tried to prevent another goal in the following minutes. But the Coyotes would not be denied.
Their persistence paid off in the 63rd minute when Elmer Garcia blasted a long-distance strike to give his team a 3-2 lead. Kerman responded with its own long-distance hit in the 70th minute, scored by sophomore Jose Elorza.
“There was nothing the keeper can do,” Landeros said. “It was a 1-on-1 from 25 yards out.”
Madera’s Diego Da Rocha had a chance to score the winner in the 77th minute, but his shot sailed over the goal.
Kerman’s Jonathan Velasquez also missed an opportunity in the next minute when he mishit a ball that came across the face of goal. Elorza dodged a few Madera defenders and took a shot from close range in the final minute. But his shot failed to hit the target, sending the game to overtime.
Struggling to create chances in overtime, the teams settled for a tie.
“We had the lead, but unfortunately weren’t able to hold it. That’s going to come with time with our young team,” Landeros said.
Landeros talked to his team about two of the goals they gave up, which came as a result of counterattacks.
“The first goal and I would say even the second goal, we got countered when we didn’t switch from offensive to defensive transition,” he said.
But the coach is happy with the resiliency he saw from his team.
“They want to learn, get better everyday,” Landeros said. “To come from behind from two goals down, shows their potential. We have that type of team. It’s just a matter of plugging a few more pieces and getting a win.”