Stallions fall late to Apaches


Tyler Takeda/The Madera Tribune

Madera South’s Raul Arzola celebrates his first-half goal to give the Stallions an early lead over the Sanger Apaches on Wednesday.

 

Facing one of the top teams in the Central Section, Madera South boys soccer head coach Enrique Garcia knew his team had a tough task.


That task got a little easier when Raul Arzola scored a goal in the 17th minute and the Stallions took a 1-0 halftime lead.


However, Sanger scored a goal late in the second half to tie the game and got the advantage of some questionable non-calls to score three goals in the overtime against a tiring Stallions’ squad who are still undermanned by illness and injury.


“We knew how much firepower they have from everywhere,” head coach Enrique Garcia said. “We played a very defensive style of game. They got one in the last 20 minutes of the second half. The second overtime, they scored the three goals.”


Although there could be questions about a non-offsides call made on the go-ahead goal, Garcia knows his team needs to do a better job on the defensive end.


“At the end of the day, the linesman was the one that made the call,” he said. “We should have cleared the ball better. That was one of the biggest things we talked about at practice. At the end, it was 100 minutes and the boys were exhausted. Mistakes were bound to happen. It just ended up giving them the opportunity to get the goals in. If we would have cleared the ball, they wouldn’t have had the chance.”


Unfortunately, once the Stallions gave up the go-ahead goal, it forced Garcia to make some strategical changes that opened things up for the Apaches.


“Once they scored the go-ahead goal, we obviously had to make changes to move players up,” Garcia said. “Moving players up and us being exhausted gave more opportunities for them. If that first goal doesn’t happen, it changes a lot of stuff. I told my boys, losing 4-1 or 2-1, an L is an L.”


However, playing one of the top teams in the Central Section to a 1-0 lead for about 60 minutes, Garcia sees it as a positive.


“My boys had their heads down for a while,” he said. “After the game, my boys were upset. I told them we took the top team in the section to overtime and was leading for 60 minutes. That’s a huge accomplishment. We have to learn from this and know what to improve on to not make those mistakes in overtime.”


Sanger had plenty of chances in the first four minutes of the match. They had a header go off the crossbar, a shot up front go over the goal and another shot stop by goalkeeper Carlos Ramirez.


The Stallions took advantage of a chance in the 17th minute. Arzola got the ball up front and shot on goal. His shot was blocked by the Sanger goalkeeper. However, the ball went right back to Arzola, who headed it into the empty net for the early lead.


Sanger had more chances in the first half. Sanger got the ball in front, but Ramirez made the save. They kept the ball on their end and a crossing pass was headed over the crossbar in the 24th minute.

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