A strong defensive second half helped Pacheco’s soccer team stay in the playoff hunt Tuesday in a 4-3 win over Livingston.
A minor Pacheco adjustment at halftime limited the Wolves to just two shots on target after the break, one of which went in to give Livingston a third goal moments before the final whistle.
“In the first half, both of my wings, they were going up too much,” Pacheco coach Daniel Elizalde said. “We were allowing them to come into our side a lot, and that resulted in those first two goals in the first half. At halftime I said you guys need to stay back, or if one of you goes up, make sure your midfielder drops back in your position.
“So that kind of helped us out in the second half. We did allow some shots, but not as many as the first half.”
Livingston got off seven shots in the second half, but all of them were under intense pressure from the Pacheco defense, causing the Wolves to take longer shots with less chance of success.
The game started on the right foot for Pacheco – more precisely, on Oscar Balvaneda’s right foot. The Pacheco junior scored the game’s first goal at the 4-minute mark, controlling a long Edgar Iglesias pass and shooting directly at Livingston goalkeeper David Solorio. Solorio blocked it, but Balvaneda crashed the boards, to borrow a basketball phrase, and sent the rebound into the net.
Iglesias made it 2-0 at the 17-minute mark after teammate Leonel Orozco stopped a Livingston possession – sending a Wolves player flying when he stopped the ball short – and fed the ball to Iglesias for a goal.
“This is a big win for us, because a win helps us succeed to the next round in order to go to playoffs,” Iglesias said. “This is the year we feel we’re capable of going to playoffs.”
Livingston’s Cesar Balderas cut the lead to 1 on a breakaway goal a few minutes later. The teams exchanged goals late in the half, with a Gerardo Perez goal off an Orozco pass for Pacheco followed by a Rolando Rodriguez goal off a Cesar Aguilar corner kick for Livingston.
Iglesias got his second goal 23 minutes into the second half on a long, bouncing Raymundo Gonzalez pass from the back line.
“It just came out of nowhere,” Iglesias said. “I was just watching the ball the whole time, and knowing the defender wasn’t looking, it gave me the advantage to just run for the ball, and I came up with it before he did and scored.”
Livingston cut the lead to 1 again on Balderas’ second goal off a Freddy Aguilar free kick, but the final whistle blew just moments later. A 4-4 tie between Ceres and Patterson left Pacheco sitting fourth in the league standings, with 15 points to Patterson’s 19. The Western Athletic Conference sends three teams to the playoffs. Pacheco played Central Valley on Thursday (results were unavailable at press time), and finishes with home games Monday against Los Banos and Wednesday against Patterson.
“At this point, it’s all on us. We have to win, basically, to stay in,” Elizalde said. “If we lose one more game, we have to… we have to win every game.”