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May 25, 2022

Prep Soccer: Gilroy’s errors pave way for Alvarez

GILROY—Eucario Mendoza used his head to get Gilroy on the board, but it was too little, too late.
Ricardo Soza scored three goals for Alvarez, lifting the Eagles to a 4-1 win over the Mustangs Tuesday at Gilroy High.
“We thought coming into this game, if we could minimize our mistakes …we would have a competitive chance,” Gilroy coach Armando Padilla said.
The Mustangs trailed 2-0 at the half—thanks to Soza—but Padilla told his team to keep working hard. Their persistence paid off when Mendoza headed in a ball off a corner kick in the 75th minute for the final goal of the game.
But Gilroy did have its chances.
The Mustangs’ most dangerous plays came off set pieces; two corners, which they got heads on the ball, but were unable to direct them towards the net. Fernando Lares had another chance on a free kick, but the keeper deflected it.
“They worked harder than us,” Lares said. “We should’ve come out more physical.”
Apart from the Mustangs not finishing plays offensively, the defense struggled with clearing the ball.
Having stopped the initial play by the Eagles, a Gilroy defender attempted to clear the ball out of the danger zone in the first half, but Soza gained possession. He was in a perfect position to strike and fired the ball past Gilroy keeper Jaime Ulloa.
Soza completed his hat trick in the 67th minute with a header of a corner kick.
“It’s difficult to play a team that is ranked top three of the section and make mistakes like that and then come out with a victory,” Padilla said.
Alvarez entered the game with a league record of 6-1-2, 12-2-3 overall, with its only loss to Alisal in the league opener.
Brandon Hernandez capped off scoring for Alvarez with a second half goal.
“No.7 (Hernandez) and 11 (Ricardo Soza) were very active players… They get out there and they just run hard,” Padilla said. “If there’s a defender in front of them they don’t care. They just run that guy over.
“(The Alvarez forwards’) will for fight and nose for the goal are more apparent when they are out there,” Padilla continued.
Padilla made several substitutions and position changes to adjust to the Eagles’ defense. Gilroy began with Jaime Silva and Efren Pineda at forward, but Lares and Daniel Tovar took over in the second half as the team continued its search for a goal.
Unfortunately for Gilroy, neither combination panned out.
“(It’s a) huge positive that everybody is getting experience to play against a quality side,” Padilla said.
Gilroy, the defending Central Coast Section Champions, looks to keep its postseason hopes alive when it pays a visit to North Monterey County at 5:45 p.m. Tuesday. The Mustangs sit at 6-10 overall, 3-6 in league. They must finish at .500 to be considered for an at-large berth.
“We are going to keep working,” Lares said.

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