Tigers kickers lose late in home match

By David Witte / sports@losbanosenterprise.comSeptember 29, 2012 

Los Banos soccer came up with a 3-1 league loss to Ceres on Tuesday, but the Tigers can take comfort in a better performance after keeping the game tied 1-1 until about the 70th minute.

"I told the guys at half that the goal came from fundamental mistakes. Stuff like taking our eye off the ball, letting it go right by us," Los Banos coach Wes Wing said. "The first goal was a turnover. Just kicked it right back to him. We couldn't clear the ball. So it should have been 1-0. We were feeling good, but we wanted more."

Technically, it could have been 0-0 -- Ceres' Freddy Arana scored in the 10th minute off that fortunate turnover in front of the goal, and Los Banos scored a few minutes later when Chino Cuevas battled with a Ceres defender in front of the goal for a Jose Romo pass. The ball pinballed around before rolling into the goal.

"All I did was tap the ball, while the other player kicked it in for me," Cuevas said. "So basically, he scored it for us. I couldn't have done it without my partner Romo."

After that, the teams battled back and forth mostly in the midfield. LB struggled to get open shots near the goal while Ceres created more chances, but LB goalkeeper Junior Felix kept the ball out of the net with a number of one-on-one saves. Felix finished with seven saves.

"We've been working on the midfield a lot," Wing said. "There's still a long way to go -- they're not where I want them to be. But they've come a long way. We've been working on just playing our lanes, and playing their lanes. Cutting off their lanes. We've been working on drills that incorporate that kind of play.

"We're only going to get better at it, and hopefully we can do better next time we play them, and hopefully we can do better against Patterson, Central Valley."

The LB defense remained stiff in the second half, allowing just one shot on goal until the final 10 minutes of play. That was when Arana drove up the left side and circled behind the LB defense before scoring on a shallow-angle strike to make it 2-1.

The score broke the Tigers' back.

"Halftime, we all felt confident. All of us felt confident we were going to win it," Cuevas said. "In the second half, at the end there is where we made our mistakes, giving up right there. But on this video we'll see all our mistakes, and we'll make them better."

Ceres scored once more in the waning seconds of the game when Moises Rocha dribbled around the right side of the defense and lobbed a shot over Felix that slipped through the goalkeeper's fingers.

Despite the final tally, it's a performance that the Tigers feel mostly good about.

"They're coming together. This is a (Ceres) team that went out and beat Pacheco 6-1 or something like that," Wing said. "This is a team that Central Catholic warned us about, and other coaches have told me, 'Have you played Ceres yet? They have a really good team.' "

The loss came on the heels of a 1-0 loss to Central Catholic late last week.

Meanwhile, in Ceres, Pacheco dropped a 4-3 loss to Central Valley.

Enterprise reporter David Witte can be reached by phone at 388-6565 or by e-mail at sports@losbanosenterprise.com

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