Stallions battle Sunnyside for draw
Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera South’s Axel Rodriguez dribbles by a Sunnyside defender to score the game-tying goal in Friday’s tie.
After wins against Firebaugh and McLane-Fresno to open the season, the Madera South boys soccer team settled for a well-earned 2-2 draw against visiting Sunnyside-Fresno.
The soccer season is kicking into high gear and so are the Stallions after a strong performance that could’ve gone in favor of Madera South.
“We played a well-organized Sunnyside team. Our boys played our style of soccer, from moving the ball, transition, and building opportunities. Definitely pleased with our team’s performance even with the tie,” Stallions head coach Enrique Garcia said after Friday’s match.
There are some new changes to the Stallions team this year as Garcia is infusing new concepts into the program.
“This is a new style and new formation we are implementing. So, for the boys to show they are getting it, is definitely something to be proud of and let us coaches know what we need to do to fix mistakes,” Garcia said. “Missing some of our top scorers did take away some fire power for us, but the players that stepped in their shoes definitely are making the coaches job difficult to see who will be starting come league.”
Axel Rodriguez and Ricardo Rangel led the way for Madera South as goals from the pair powered Madera South Friday night. Rodriguez and Rangel showed how well the Stallions incorporate different players as they move up the ranks.
Last season the Stallions were forced into a position to start players that weren’t quite ready for the top level, but they adapted and the Stallions became a stronger team for it.
This season, Madera South look ready to make a run at the County/Metro Athletic Conference title.
“Our team is still young but not inexperienced. The majority played last year and experienced how tough a season can be physically and mentally especially at the end when it counts the most,” Garcia said. “We are always looking to compete with the best and this year we feel we can do so. The new playoff format gives us a chance to do that. One of our biggest strengths is how united our team is and the belief they have in each other.”
The Stallions used two goalkeepers. Both Nathan Maroquin and Carlos Ramirez played a pivotal role between the sticks but it was Ramirez that entered the game at the half and continued into overtime keeping a clean sheet.
Although Maroquin allowed two goals in the first 40 minutes, his teammates picked him back up each time.
Senior Edgar Arvizu provided and assist and freshman talent Jonathan Molina also provided an assist.
Bryan Oseguera played both periods and the overtime period while Francisco Magana played the second highest only subbing out for 10 minutes.
Although the Stallions were unable to come away with the victory, starting the season 2-0-1 sets a foundation to build off throughout the season.
“It’s always important to start off season with some wins. If you want to be ranked up in the top eight, you can’t do that by losing games early. We haven’t had our complete team in any of our three matches, but we are showing the depth we have and still getting results,” Garcia said. “We have been hit with injuries early, but lucky nothing long term. We have one more contest before Thanksgiving break and, hopefully, after that we will have our full team together for the tough part of our preseason.”