Referees allow physical play for almost entire game, Trailblazer head coach says physicality is typical of Redwood rivalry
By Paul Myers
VISALIA – Perhaps Redwood and Golden West are not official rivals, but their play was ferocious last Thursday night. Players were fighting hard throughout the game, and getting closer and more personal than a typical soccer match.
“I’ve been at this thing 20 years. Every time we play Redwood it’s tight, it’s close, it’s a great game and it’s gritty, always,” Golden West head coach John McCaw said.
Redwood head coach Miguel Balderas said that the refs didn’t set a tone for the game early on. He added there were a couple plays deserving on a yellow card on both teams that weren’t called.
“Kids were surprised at what they could get away with. And once teenage boys see that, they want to see exactly what they’ll get away with,” Balderas said.
Inciting strong play, Golden West (9-5-2) got out to a 1-0 lead in the 4th minute. Marquese Carrillo flashed open and got the ball on a wide angle and faked inside. That gave him the space to put a shot through the net.
The Trailblazers backed up their offensive play with strong defense between the posts. Goal keeper, Joan Manzano made a heads-up play when Redwood had the opportunity to turn a corner kick into a goal in the 9th minute. The Rangers (6-6-2) headed the ball into an open part of the net but Manzano used his quick hands to catch the ball in midflight.
Manzano made another save in the 23rd minute when the Rangers took the ball on a fast break down the field. Without a defender to help take the ball, Manzano got out in front and smothered the shot.
Five minutes later Golden West’s Christian Turjillo made the most of an opportunity to extend the Blazers’ lead when he emerged from a scrum near Redwood’s goal. He made the most of his slightly open shot and put the ball straight in the net in the 28th minute.
Redwood tried to make up for lost time and pressed the ball downfield. Unfortunately for them the Blazers’ defense managed to keep the Rangers off the board. Not helping their own cause, Redwood continued to squander opportunities at the net. When Redwood had a free kick from just outside the penalty area, they kicked off target.
Balderas said his team needed to clean up their technical and mental mistakes.
“I think we’re still trying to learn to hold ourselves accountable. There isn’t a lot of maturity and leadership out there yet. We had our moments out there where we played good soccer but it’s the mental mistakes, and we seem to pay for it every time,” Balderas said.
Frustration started to set in when Redwood couldn’t get on the board. Toward the end of the first half, Manzano smothered another shot but took the wrong end of the cleat while doing it. According to McCaw, he suffered a gash in his hand and couldn’t come back in the second half.
By the 48th minute Redwood pushed through to get their first goal off Golden West’s back up goalie.
“I think they countered on us pretty well and you have to give them credit…a couple guys threw themselves at the ball and put it away…it typified the game. It was a good, gritty goal,” McCaw said.
Things got immediately contentious when Redwood went to grab the ball out of the net to reset and keep the game moving. Golden West made no buts about standing in their way, leading to a short scuffle in the net.
The last goal for Golden West, and the night came off an illegal side tackle in the penalty area in the 61st minute. Trujillo made quick work of the one-on-one and extended his team’s lead to 3-1.
Despite some late game pushing and shoving, only one yellow card was issued.
“I like how we played today…we made some mistakes but so does everyone, but I thought our guys played really determined. It’s a tough league. Lemoore is going to be tough, El [Diamante] is going to be tough and if you forget about Hanford or [Mt.] Whitney they’ll sneak up on you as well,” McCaw said.
Balderas said that his team needs to get back to practicing the basics if his team wants to go far this year.
“We’re just going to have to go back to basics for this season and really focus on the technical side of the game and limit the technical mistakes,” Balderas said.
Golden West faces off against the 11-4-1 Lemoore Tigers at home this Wednesday, Jan. 15, before heading on the road to play Hanford this Friday, Jan. 17.
Redwood will make the same stop in Hanford this Wednesday, Jan. 15 , but will not play again until next Tuesday, Jan. 21.