BOYS SOCCER: Mustangs send away rival Balers, 3-0

Jonathan Diaz De Leon dribbles around a defender. Diaz De Leon

GILROY – There happened to be three goals in Tuesday’s Tri
County Athletic League game between Gilroy and San Benito, but the
first by the Mustangs in the fourth minute seemed to set the tone,
sending the two teams in totally different directions in a 3-0 GHS
victory.
GILROY – One goal can make a whole lot of difference in a soccer game. Often times, that is all a team will get, and it’s usually enough to get a win.

There happened to be three goals in Tuesday’s Tri County Athletic League game between Gilroy and San Benito, but the first by the Mustangs in the fourth minute seemed to set the tone, sending the two teams in totally different directions in a 3-0 GHS victory.

Sophomore Jonathan Diaz De Leon lost his man inside the box with some nifty dribbling and buried a shot inside the far post for a 1-0 Mustangs’ advantage.

The early deficit for the Balers, who dropped a tough 2-1 decision to Alvarez last Saturday, has become a disturbing trend this season, which has coach Ramiro Ramos searching for reasons why.

“That’s typical of a lot of our games. We always get scored on, for some reason, in the first, third, fifth minute,” Ramos said. “I don’t know if my guys are asleep. My goal for the rest of the season is to figure out why we get scored on so early in the game.”

Compounding the problem for the Balers was the absence of junior stopper Andy Hurtado, who was forced to miss Tuesday’s action after obtaining two yellow cards in Saturday’s game against Alvarez, which resulted in his ejection from that game and an additional one-game suspension.

Conversely for the Mustangs, the early 1-nil lead was something head coach Armando Padilla was looking for after two straight sub-par performances — a 2-2 tie with Salinas and a 1-0 loss to first-place Alisal.

“At this point of the season we should be playing much better,” Padilla said. “We always talk about jumping on teams early. You just want to set the tone early and build from there. I’m glad we got the first one because we are usually playing down. But not this time.”

Following a no-call on what appeared to be a hand ball inside the Mustangs’ penalty box, Gilroy quickly countered, catching the Balers in transition. Josh Gonzalez made them pay, increasing the lead to 2-0.

“If they would have called that and we scored, it would have changed the whole rest of the game,” Ramos said. “The center ref came over and explained that it was unintentional, but I saw it differently. I think that was a key (moment) in the game.”

The 2-0 lead remained at halftime and it took all of eight minutes for the Mustangs to build on the cushion in the second half with Diaz De Leon tallying his second goal of the night.

“We were just trying to be more patient with the ball,” Diaz De Leon said. “You just have to concentrate and be confident in yourself.”

It took the Balers 65 minutes to finally string together some effective runs and produce shots on goal, but by then the game was out of reach and the Mustangs tightened up in the defensive zone, preventing any sort of real opportunity.

“Today we were a little unlucky,” Ramos said. “I wasn’t very happy with the way the guys played. We played crazy ball. It was too little, too late.”

At the midway point in the season the Mustangs (8-3-2, 4-1-1 TCAL) sit only behind Alisal in the TCAL, while the Balers (5-7-1, 2-3-1 TCAL) will have some work to do in the second half of league to get themselves back into the mix.

“I still need to see more,” Padilla said. “We can’t take anyone for granted and go into every game thinking any team can beat us. It is a matter of being consistent and see if we can perform game in and game out.”

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