Tijuana team takes 'international friendly' match

By David Witte / sports@losbanosenterprise.comDecember 13, 2012 

The Fuego FC under-17 team has been preparing a long time for a professional-caliber Club Tijuana team.

And the Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles, or Xolos for short, didn't disappoint in an 11-2 victory Sunday at Loftin Stadium.

It took just 71/2 minutes for the Xolos' Gaston Vargas to score the first goal, and from then the floodgates opened -- the Xolos scored six more over the next 35 minutes.

Los Banos High freshman Ignacio Olivares put Fuego FC on the board near the end of the first half when he collected a long pass in Xolos territory and sent a volley over Xolos goalkeeper Samuel Velasquez, who got caught too far away from the goal.

"We were struggling at first, then we got the hang of it. The whole team got together," said Olivares, who finished his season with the Tigers not too long ago. "We were expecting a hard game, because they're a professional team. But we found a way of scoring and making it work."

The Xolos put on a show, scoring in a variety of ways -- from quick-passing attacks that left the defense in shambles to long, arcing shots, to penalty kicks, to diving headers off of corner kicks.

"I could learn a lot of things -- that's a professional team, they teach you a lot of new stuff too," Olivares said. "I hope I can practice more and learn more."

Olivares's teammate Miguel Ortiz added another goal for Fuego FC early in the second half, which made the score 8-2.

The Xolos 17U is one of several youth teams for the Xolos of LigaMX, the top level of Mexican soccer. The program's youth teams (19U and 17U, plus a 15U team planned for next year) are managed by Frankie Oviedo, a Colombian-born soccer legend, who as a player won a Mexican championship with Club America in 2002 and two Colombian titles with America de Cali in 1997 and Boyaca Chico in 2008.

This year's main Xolos squad tied for first in the LigaMX standings, then defeated Toluca 2-1 Nov. 29 and 2-0 Dec. 2 to win the championship in just its second season in LigaMX, and its fifth season in existence.

Fuego FC is a Livingston club, but several youth squads in Los Banos are associated with it because of a requirement of the NorCal Premier League that youth teams be part of an athletic club. The Los Banos teams are planning to break off and form a club for the Los Banos area. The birth of A.C. Los Banos Terremotos is planned for next year.

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

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

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