Boys Soccer: Former league champs square off

Tulare Western opens season with 2-1 loss to Golden West

TULARE – The East Yosemite League (EYL) champion from two years ago faced off against last year’s West Yosemite League (WYL) champion as both teams look to make another run at a league title. Last Tuesday, Tulare Western lost 2-1 in their home opener against Golden West.

It was the second match of the season for the TrailBlazers as they were coming off a narrow 2-1 loss at home to Garces Memorial. They carried that momentum onward to their game against the Mustangs as they scored in the game’s first two minutes off a set play from the corner. Their set plays were on point as it led to another goal to go up 2-0 in the first 12 minutes of the match.

“This game we were a little bit better with the ball. Last game we played we gave it away too often,” Golden West head coach John McCaw said. “We’re a little more organized defensively than last game and we played more as a team overall. We’re starting to figure each other out a little bit.”

Golden West’s offense controlled the game for a majority of the first half, but Tulare Western’s defense pulled it together and didn’t allow any more goals. Both teams upped the physicality and earned their fair share of yellow cards, keeping the refs busy the entire game.

Tulare Western’s offense got things going in the second half as senior Alonso Marquez faked out the Trailblazer goalkeeper to get his team on the board and back in the game. It was the last goal of the night as both offenses struggled to penetrate the opposing defense.

For the Mustangs, it was the first game since their 4-0 loss to San Luis Obispo in the first round of last year’s playoffs. They finished second in the EYL just two games behind their rival, Tulare Union. Despite not having an offseason, head coach Osama Hamid made sure his team had chances to build chemistry and cohesion. They were consistently holding team meetings and activities on Zoom for about an hour a day, which allowed them to bond and introduce new players into the program.

“I think that helps with the relationships out here. When something goes bad, that’s when those things come up,” Hamid said.

The Mustangs played their second game of the season at Mt. Whitney (1-0) yesterday after press time. They’ll have a break until next Monday when they travel to Clovis North.

Last Thursday, the Blazers lost 3-1 against Tulare Union, last year’s EYL champions, as they fell to 1-2. They played their fourth game of the season at home yesterday after press time, which was Woodlake’s first game of the season. Their next game will be tomorrow at home against Golden West.

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