Stallions put Knights to the sword in win
“It was a really great win and a sweet feeling for the boys to see Bullard pulling out their starters and putting in their bench players with 20 minutes left in the game.” — Enrique Garcia, Madera South head coach
The Madera South Stallions boys soccer team opened its 2021 County/Metro Athletic Conference season with less than stellar results.
Losing three of their first four CMAC games, the Stallions had to right the ship quickly in order to have a shot at the CMAC title. Since its 4-1 loss to Sanger away from home, Madera South has recaptured its form.
A 6-3 victory of Edison on April 27, a 2-1 victory of Madera on April 29 and then a 3-0 victory of the Bullard Knights on Tuesday, not only launched the Stallions into second place in the CMAC, but also gained some revenge after their 4-2 loss back in early April.
“It wasn’t like it was revenge, but it was something like that. We played a horrible game when we went over there and we were still able to take them to overtime. With no subs, injured players on the bench, it felt really good to have them come here and for us to win,” Madera South head coach Enrique Garcia said. “We ruled for a majority of the game and then early in the second half we started to put goals away.”
With second half goals from Axel Rodriguez, Ulysses Vega, who scored on a free kick, and Luis Diaz, who scored a penalty to ice the game halfway through the second half, Madera South now has three wins under its belt and look towards a matchup with the San Joaquin-Memorial Panthers.
Although the second round of CMAC play is almost in the books, there is still much to play for with playoffs seemingly around the corner.
“We are doing a lot better of moving with and without the ball, passing and creating. In the first half, we took about four shots but none of them were on frame. It’s about taking advantage of your opportunities and the younger guys are stepping up,” Garcia said.
Javier Buenrostro led the way with two assists to give him five on the season with three goals.
Buenrostro created the first goal of the game, but not the first chance after the Stallions came up empty in the first.
The senior’s right-footed pass into Rodriguez capped off a team display down the pitch. Buenrostro found the young Stallion forward in a dangerous area within the Knights’ final third before playing in an accurate ball, allowing Rodriguez to swing through and into the back of the net early in the second half.
Vega might’ve put the dagger into Bullard hearts with a classic poacher’s goal after the Bullard goalkeeper fluffed his lines. Buenrostro took the Stallions’ free kick on the edge of the final third before firing the ball into the crowded penalty area.
“Ulysses scored his first goal off a great free kick. He reacted to the keeper’s mistake, coughing up the ball in front of him as he made the run into the box,” Garcia said.
Madera South clung to a 2-0 lead and the Knights did all they could to get on the board but keeper Ishmal Ambriz turned in another top performance between the sticks. Bullard had put four past Madera South in the initial matchup, but this time around it was a different story.
The Stallions put the icing on the cake with a Diaz penalty kick towards the end of the half. The goal not only marked the seemingly futile effort of the Bullard Knights but it also catapulted the Stallions up the CMAC rankings.
Of course, seeing your opponents walk off the pitch with 20 minutes remaining and replacing them with subs is a flattering sight as well.