The varsity boys soccer program’s three- week hiatus from the pitch ended last week, when the Tigers resumed their league schedule in the Central California Conference with a pair of games against Atwater and Merced.
The Tigers went into the week still searching for their first league victory of the 2020 season, rectifying that with a pair of wins to move Patterson to the upper half of the table at this early juncture.
Patterson’s 2-1 record in the CCC gives the Tigers six points in the standings, trailing only Central Valley with 10 points, heading into Tuesday’s slate of games. Golden Valley has five points, while Merced and El Capitan are tied for fourth place with four points. Buhach Colony went into Tuesday’s matchups in last place with one point.
With 10 games remaining in league play however, the standings are still very much a fluid situation and head coach Luis Torres and staff are emphasizing to their squad to ratchet up the focus moving forward. While satisfied with the pair of wins last week, the coaching staff hopes to get even more out of their players as they move forward in league play.
“I think as a team we are feeling a little too confident. We’re coming into games a little too confident,” Torres said. “That extra touch or that laziness to get to the ball because you know you can get there instead of doing it right from the beginning is catching up to us. We need to get that out of our system.”
Patterson traveled to play an important match at Veteran’s Stadium at Golden Valley High on Tuesday after press time, and will host Buhach Colony on Thursday, Jan. 16 at Patterson Community Stadium at 6 p.m.
Clean sheet versus Merced
Patterson’s two goals in the first half were enough against visiting Merced on Jan. 9 at Patterson Community Stadium.
Sophomore Rafael Villasenor got the Tigers on the board, before the right foot of junior Isael Medina made it a 2-0 lead with a goal of his own later in the opening half. Assists were credited to seniors Brian Hernandez and Imanol Ramirez respectively.
Patterson’s control of the game continued in the second half. Although most of the game was played in the Merced defensive zone, the Tigers were unable to capitalize on that with any scoring in the second half. Torres spoke about his midfielder’s play in the 2-0 win.
“One of our strengths that we have is our mid. I did think we connected when we could, but we did have a lot of turnovers that made the other team huge, meaning they were growing and gaining confidence,” Torres said. He emphasized the importance of the Tigers’ midfield to the success of the team moving forward. “It’s what is going to carry us season.”
Merced managed to create a handful of counterattack opportunities in the second half, but the defense along with goalkeeper Miguel Cortez ensured those counter attacks did not lead to much.
The strong defensive effort and great play at the net by Cortez resulted in Patterson’s first clean sheet of the 2019-20 season.
“It was good for the defense and our goalie. The assistant coach brought it up that we needed that clean sheet today. It was one of our goals and we got the win,” Torres said. “It was a good accomplishment.”
5-1 win at Atwater
Last Tuesday was a solid outing for the varsity squad. Although Atwater managed to score a goal, it was dwarfed by the five put up by Patterson, leading to a 5-1 victory over the Falcons on Jan. 7.
Sophomore Johan Mendoza led the Tigers in scoring, with two goals against Atwater.
Sophomore Gabriel Abellana, junior Isael Medina, and senior Ricardo Jimenez each registered a goal. Jimenez was also credited with an assist.
Sophomore Jonathan Gallardo helped grease the scoring with two assists. Junior Adrian Melesio also recorded an assist.
The five goals were the most scored in a single game by the Patterson offense since their 6-2 victory over Downey on Nov. 27. It was also the most scored in a CCC match so far.