Stallions outlast Coyotes
Christopher Cross/The Madera Tribune
Madera South’s Ulysses Vega tries to get in the way of Madera goalkeeper Jesse Cuevas’ kick down the field. Vega scored the first goal in a 2-1 victory over the Coyotes.
A late goal for the Madera South Stallions boys soccer team in the dying moments of the first half proved to be the deciding factor as the Stallions outlasted the Madera Coyotes 2-1 at Memorial Stadium in a County/Metro Athletic Conference clash.
Goals from Ulysess Vega and Jonathan Molina powered the Stallions to an intense and hard-fought victory over next-door rivals Madera in a rare Sunday evening battle.
“This rivalry, it’s something big for us. We see them often, we’re in the same league and we want to be better and they are the same way. This game is huge,” Madera South head coach Enrique Garcia said.
From the first whistle to the last, both the Coyotes and Stallions were locked in a heated battle, not only for CMAC implications, but for bragging rights, too.
Madera’s Angel Segovia got the first shot away early in the match, but it wasn’t until the very end of the half did we see the first strike on the scoresheet.
Although Madera and Madera South were caught in a back and forth, Vega’s effort changed the fortunes of both teams. Madera South cleared the ball down the pitch before Vega raced down the field looking to latch onto the cleared ball.
As Vega sprinted down the field, Coyote goalkeeper Jesse Cuevas charged the ball, but was unable clear the loose ball that had bounced into his final third.
Vega touched the ball past Cuevas and slotted the ball home into an empty net. Madera South took a 1-0 lead and never looked back.
“It’s a rivalry game. Regardless of what you teach the boys in practice, as soon as the game starts, they forget it all,” Garcia said. “No matter what you try to teach these boys, the rivalry game takes over their emotions.”
Madera had chances in the first half, including a point-blank shot from Joad Enriquez-Blanco that went awry.
The Coyotes were pushing in the first half, but things didn’t change until after the break.
“We encouraged them to believe in themselves. We can play against anybody and the boys have proven that. The first goal was a mistake and we wanted the boys to realize they were still in the game,” Madera Coyotes head coach Nic Landeros said.
The Coyotes came out in the second half and looked refreshed and focused. The second half was a polar opposite of the first as the Coyotes were on the front foot while the Stallions were slow out of the gates.
“It just shows the passion of the boys to never give up. They want to win and they want to be competitive,” Landeros said.
Led by Elmer Garcia and Elias Zuniga, the Coyotes were pressing high and forcing the Stallions into tight spaces. The Coyotes were slowly building and waiting for the game-tying goal, but things changed quickly.
A handball in the box midway through the second half put the Coyotes on their heels.
Molina stepped up for the penalty and dispatched the ball with ease, putting Madera South up 2-0.
Two mistakes had cost the Coyotes, but Landeros and his boys were not giving in.
Madera finally pulled one back with less than 30 minutes remaining after Axel Parra capitalized on a scrum in the box.
Both the Coyote forwards and Stallions’ defenders battled in the penalty area to clear the ball out of danger.
Unfortunately for Madera South, the ball was pin balling everywhere but, Parra latched onto the ball with his right foot, sending it crashing into the net.
Madera cut the lead 2-1 but that was all they could muster as the Stallions earned the victory on the road.