Stallions fall behind in NYL race
Tyler Takeda/The Madera Tribune
Madera South’s Fncisco Magana settles the ball at midfield and looks for an open teammate during Friday’s loss to Sunnyside.
With a chance to make a statement in the North Yosemite League and put themselves in the driver’s seat for a league title, the Madera South Stallions boys soccer team couldn’t find the back of the net in two losses over the weekend.
The Stallions lost to the Sunnyside-Fresno Wildcats in the first round of the NYL, but set up a rematch to open the second round Friday. However, the Stallions fell behind 1-0 on a penalty kick in the first half, and never recovered.
The Wildcats added a late second half goal for a 2-0 victory. To make matters worse, the Stallions lost 18 hours later, 1-0, to Fresno High School on a Saturday match.
“We fell asleep in the first half,” head coach Enrique Garcia said about Friday’s match. “We played very physical. We were too physical in the box and allowed a penalty kick in the first half. We changed some tactics in the second half. We created about six opportunities, but couldn’t capitalize on them. Friday showed it wasn’t our game.”
The Stallions tried to push up and score in the second half and a mental mistake led to Sunnyside’s second goal.
“The last five minutes, we sent everyone up and made a mental mistake. We lost the ball and they ended up scoring,” Garcia said.
However, one of the biggest concerns for Garcia was his team’s play on set pieces — free kicks and corner kicks — where the Stallions really didn’t pressure their opponents.
“In the first half, we had miscommunication with set pieces,” he said. “It’s something we’ve had trouble with all year. We don’t have chemistry in the set pieces. It’s hard because we have other things to work on in practice. To have that many chances in the first half, it’s a problem to have an opportunity for a goal. We’re definitely going to have to work on that this week.”
Against Sunnyside, the Wildcats had the first chance on goal five minutes into the match. They took the ball to the end line and shot before goalkeeper Carlos Ramirez could challenge. The ball hit off the post and the Stallions cleared it out.
In the 11th minute, Madera South had a free kick from about 32 yards out. Misael Arellano sent the kick on goal, but it went across and out of bounds.
Two minutes later, the Stallions sent the ball to the front for Ricardo Rangel, but the Sunnyside keeper got to the ball before Rangel.
Midway through the first half, Sunnyside took the ball to the end line. Ramirez tried to stop the run with a slide, but missed. The Wildcats took a shot at the open goal, but Madera South’s Julian Nevarez was there to knock the ball out of the goal.
However, Sunnyside kept the pressure up and earned a penalty kick. They shot to the left of Ramirez for the 1-0 lead.
In the 27th minute, Madera South’s Jonathan Molina got the ball in the middle, turned and shot on goal, but was wide right.
Three minutes later, Madera South drew a foul on the left side of the goalkeeper’s box at about 12 yards up. The kick was sent on goal, but Sunnyside headed the ball to the keeper.
Madera South had a corner four minutes later, but the ball went across the face of the goal and out of bounds.
The Stallions had another free kick just outside the goalkeeper’s box on the left, just like they did in the 20th minute. However, the ball went across the face of the goal, untouched, and out of bounds.
Less than 24 hours later, the Stallions traveled to Fresno to play on a grass field for the first time in about a month. However, it didn’t matter to the Stallions because they came out without any energy after an exhausting physical and mental match the day before against Sunnyside.
“We were flat and exhausted. We had a lot of injuries in that game and had players missing,” Garcia said. “It was a tough, physical match. It makes a difference playing on grass. It was a different kind of game the day before. Morale goes down when you lose a game when you had so many opportunities. It was a game we could have won and should have won.”