A week off from play helped the varsity boys soccer team rest up before their game versus Atwater High on Jan. 30 at Patterson Community Stadium.
Patterson was looking to rinse their mouth of the taste of their crucial loss to Central Valley last week, and successfully did so with a 4-0 rout of the Falcons last Thursday.
“They came out with a lot more focus this week,” head coach Luis Torres said following the win.
Indeed, the Tigers looked poised against Atwater. Their approach was methodical, and Patterson frequently used their speed and crisp passing to get several quality looks against the Falcons defense.
“They understand this is how you beat a team. If you beat them once and play the same way in the second game, then you know it’s working. There’s no reason to change anything. That’s what we did. Our speed allowed us to get in behind and score some goals,” Torres said.
Corner kicks opportunities from each side were the only scoring chances produced early, but senior Ricardo Jimenez changed that when he made an outstanding diving play on a cross from sophomore Jonathan Gallardo. Gallardo’s cross was placed well, but only outdone by Jimenez’ leaping dive, to strike the ball with a header and send a stinging shot past the defense in the 28th minute.
Atwater nearly responded immediately when junior Armando Ramirez forced a save from goalkeeper Miguel Cortez in the 29th minute.
The near goal from the Falcons appeared to open the game up, because only moments later the Tigers offense came galloping down the field. Jimenez handled the long pass from the midfield and adeptly pushed the ball to the left side of the goal, drawing the defense.
Just when the Falcons defense and goalie committed to Jimenez, he sent a clever pass towards the center, setting up sophomore Johan Mendoza. Mendoza was smartly shadowing the play and was waiting for the chance to strike, sending the pass from Jimenez into the net in the 30th minute to give Patterson a 2-0 lead.
Atwater produced a scoring chance in the 29th minute, but senior Fernando Gonzalez’ header missed wide. Cortez then thwarted an Atwater scoring chance in the closing moments of the first half, to keep the score at 2-0 at halftime.
Patterson had a free kick opportunity in the 45th and attempted a long shot on goal in the 49th, but neither attempts yielded any goals.
Cortez made a nice sliding save just moments later in the 50th minute.
Patterson’s persistence would result in a goal, when Gallardo caused havoc on the left side of Atwater’s defense. Gallardo sent a hard shot towards the left corner and while an Atwater defender was able to get his body on it, the shot’s momentum bounced off the defender and went in for an own goal.
The Tigers tacked on an additional goal in the 75th minute when Gallardo yet again caused issues for the Atwater defense, lining up a shot and sending it to the Falcons’ net. The Atwater goalkeeper was able to get in front of it, but the deflection carried it straight back to junior Isael Medina, who promptly buried it in the back of the net for the fourth goal of the evening.
Patterson’s 4-0 shutout is their first clean sheet since hosting Buhach Colony on Jan. 16.
Torres shared he was pleased with his defense and hopes that his squad can keep building on that defensive effort.
A lot can still be decided between now until the end of the regular season on Feb. 13. Torres shared that Patterson’s mentality is to be locked in the rest of the way.
“There’s no room for error. We have to win every single game.”
Win on Tuesday over Merced
Patterson coughed up a goal at Merced High on Tuesday, but it was not enough to keep up with the Tigers offense that scored four goals against the Bears.
Patterson spread the wealth with four different goal scorers. Junior Antonio Briseno, sophomore Jonathan Gallardo, junior Isael Medina and senior Ricardo Jimenez all scored goals for the Tigers.
Gallardo’s goal brought him to a team-leading 11 goals so far this winter. He also has eight assists this season.
Medina’s goal brought him to nine goals total this season, for second on the team.
Jimenez also had two assists, bringing his season totals to 10 assists and six goals.
Junior Nathaniel Farah had an assist on Tuesday.
Patterson’s final home game of the season will be a crucial match against Golden Valley High on Feb. 6 for senior night. The Tigers will then end the season with what could be a decisive match at El Capitan on Feb. 13.
Central Valley leads the CCC standings with 23 points. Patterson sits in second with 19 points. El Capitan’s 15 points puts them in third and Golden Valley is fourth with 12 points.
These next two games will end up deciding a lot for Patterson.