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Sierra can’t capitalize on dominant first half

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Sierra can’t capitalize on dominant first half

Sierra striker Braian Gomez gets behind a Ceres defender while searching for an open teammate at Daniel Teicheira Memorial Stadium Thursday.

JONAMAR JACINTO/The Bulletin


POSTED September 24, 2009 11:29 p.m.
By the 30th minute of the Sierra-Ceres Valley Oak League showdown at Daniel Teicheira Memorial Stadium, the visiting Bulldogs had taken just one shot.

And led 1-0.

Sierra’s thorough domination of the first half, in which it held a 13-2 advantage on shots, meant little in the end, as Ceres snuck away with a 3-1 victory.

“It’s frustrating. When you dominate and you know should win but don’t — that hurts,” Sierra coach Jose Montes said. “We dominated, but we need to finish.”

The Timberwolves (2-1-2, 8-6-2 overall) poured the pressure on early but couldn’t convert on five shot attempts within the first six minutes from point-blank range. Ceres’ standout goalkeeper, Kyle Cerny, had something to do with Sierra’s inability to finish, as he had three outstanding saves in the opening half.

Ceres’ first shot of the game came 11 minutes in, and Sierra felt it was one aided by the officials. The Bulldogs were awarded a penalty kick after Jesus Cervantes charged into the box and collided head on with a defender while taking a shot.

Luis Martinez converted the penalty kick to put the Bulldogs (4-1, 6-2-1) up, but to Sierra’s credit it never slowed its attack for the remainder of the half.

The Timberwolves eventually got one in three minutes before halftime when Braian Gomez, working from the right side of Ceres’ box, chipped a well-placed ball to Oscar Garcia, who finished it opposite post.

“They got the lucky break on the penalty kick and that set the tone for them,” Montes said. “I thought we played well through that, but that changed the way we played.”

Sierra picked up where it left off at the start of the second half, but Ceres turned the tables. Marcos Rochas broke away from one defender down the left flank and was uncontested when he hit the opposite panel in the 55th minute.

Now in desperation mode, the Timberwolves added players to the front line, but Ceres began to control possession with better efficiency.

Victor Corona put Sierra away for good with three minutes left when a cross from Pedro Gomez was deflected high off a defender and Corona blasted it in with a volley.

“We had to be a little daring because we needed to tie it,” Montes said of his formation shift in the later stages of the second half. “But I thought (goalkeeper Luis Garcia) came up big for us, and the defense held their own.”

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