SOCCER: Mustangs shut out Tribe

The Tulare Western Mustangs shut out the Tulare Union Tribe 3-0 in their first meeting of the season on Tuesday, Jan. 24

TULARE – The Tulare Western Mustangs shut out their cross town rivals, the Tulare Union Tribe, in a 3-0 game at home.

The Mustangs and the Tribe met for the first time this season at Tulare Western. The Mustangs played a hard game, netting three goals and sending the Tribe home scoreless. The single goal in the first half by senior Gerardo Morfin was a change in the pace of the game for the Mustangs and led to them taking off in the second half.

“They controlled the game a lot in the first half,” Tulare Western head coach Michael Capote said . “In the second half we made some adjustments. We weren’t going to let them attack out the back and I thought we did well. They didn’t have any possession.”

The Mustangs did dominate possession of the ball in the second half, spending significant time in the Tribe’s zone. They made an adjustment to dribble through Tulare Union’s defense rather than trying to pass around them. The Tribe plays the ball high when there’s a free kick, so it makes it hard to get the ball behind their defense.

“They want you to chip it in and be offsides or kick it right to the goalie because you’ve got to be super precise to sneak it in between that keeper and the backline,” Capote said.

So instead of playing the way Tulare Union’s defense, the Mustangs played the ball short, dribbling through the defense, which is how they were able to sneak in and score the two goals in the second half. Sophomore Elijah Parnell snuck a loose ball behind the Tribe’s goalie for the Mustangs’ second goal. Then sophomore Isaac Moreno got a third one in the net towards the end of the second half.

“We kind of got out of our rhythm [in the second half],” Tulare Union head coach Frank Mello said. “We made a mistake giving up a goal. Defensively we didn’t clear it. We just actually sent it back into the center and they scored and capitalized on it.”

This was the first meeting between Tulare Union and Tulare Western of the season. They’ll meet again in the final game of league play before playoffs for their official rivalry game, but for the Mustangs, they tried not to focus on their opponent. After scoring six goals against Lemoore last week, the Mustangs planned to just keep playing the way they’ve been playing.

The next time they meet, they’ll face off on Tulare Union’s turf field, which is a completely different surface from the grass field at Tulare Western. Last year, Tulare Western won the away game and then later lost at home. This year they’ll be hoping to repeat their victory at Bob Mathias stadium, but they’ll have to get through the rest of the West Yosemite League first.

Mission Oak is currently 3-0 in league play and sitting in the top spot. Tulare Western will face them on Jan. 27. The Mustangs are currently 3-1-1 and will be hoping to unseat the Hawks with a victory.

Tulare Union is 1-4 in league play and will be facing Lemoore on Jan.26. Lemoore is 2-3 in league play. Beating Lemoore would tie the Tribe and the Tigers.

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