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Sierra, CV all knotted up — again

Hawks benefit from handball that leads to PK

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POSTED October 7, 2009 2:20 a.m.
Omar Leon and his Central Valley Hawks breathed a collective sigh of relief.

Jose Montes and the Sierra Timberwolves exited Daniel Teicheira Memorial Stadium feeling that business was left unfinished following a hotly contested 2-2 final against the Valley Oak League leaders Tuesday.

“I thought we could win this,” said Sierra striker Braian Gomez, who scored the game’s first goal in the fifth minute. “I was pumped. We waited a long time for this game.

“We have to forget about what happened today. On Thursday we have Manteca, and we still have to play East Union, Ceres and Oakdale. We have to look forward. This is in the past already.”

Sierra (5-1-3, 10-6-3 overall) is responsible for both of Central Valley’s non-victories in league. Their previous match ended by the same 2-2 score in the regular-season opener Sept. 14 in Ceres.

The Hawks (7-0-2, 10-2-4) lead second-place Ceres by four points in the standings, with Sierra, East Union and Oakdale making up the rest of the contenders.

“We already knew that Sierra is one of the stronger leagues in our league,” Leon said. “They always have a really good team, and I think (compared) to us they have a stronger team. At our field, they were the stronger team, and here they were the stronger team.
“I think they should up there (in the standings) according to what they have and according to what they showed today. … We didn’t lose, we’ll take the tie. That’s still good.”

The Timberwolves have a different take, especially with how the draw came about.

In the 64th minute, Central Valley threatened to score with a free kick from near midfield. The ball was delivered into Sierra’s box, and defender Irving Hernandez attempted to clear it out with a header. He was shoved in the process, and the ball deflected off his arm.

Central Valley was awarded the penalty kick for the inadvertent handball.  Daniel Ochoa converted the PK for his second goal of the contest.

“That’s what gets the kids so frustrated, when the game is so close and one call changes everything,” said Montes, who added that unfavorable calls have bitten his team in the past. “I’m not the kind of coach that makes excuses; all I can do is make sure that my team is ready.

“And tonight, we showed that we were ready to play. We came out on all cylinders, they came out on all cylinders and it was a great match to see. Win or lose, I tip my hat to my players — they fought hard.”

It was a physical match from the start. Twenty-two fouls were called, and six yellow cards were issued — two of which went to a Central Valley player, leading to an ejection.

Central Valley pressured Sierra’s back line first, firing three shots in the opening minutes. The Timberwolves made good on their first one five minutes in.

David Reyes spearheaded a counterattack down the left flank and pushed it ahead to Gomez, who shot it past Central Valley goalkeeper Jose Pacheco for the score.

Ochoa tied it up in the 24th minute, and Sierra recaptured the lead 13 minutes into the second half when Oscar Garcia nailed his shot from point blank following Emmanuel Ortiz’s free kick from midfield.

Sierra has little time to dwell on the game with crosstown rival Manteca visiting Thursday. With seven games remaining, the Timberwolves know that anything can happen.

“You have five, six teams fighting for the three (playoff) spots,” Montes said. “It makes it so unique to have so much balance. Every day you’re fighting for something.”

Manteca 2, Ceres 2
At Lincoln Park, the Buffaloes (2-6-1) was minutes away from scoring the biggest upset in league, but Ceres (6-2-1) snuck in the tying goal late.

Gonsalvo Cerna gave Manteca a 2-1 halftime lead with goals in the 17th and 27th minute.

“It was tough at the end because we knew we let one slip away,” Manteca coach Justin Coenenberg said. “But we have to be pleased to come away with a tie.”

Manteca 8, Ceres 0
At Curran Park, the Buffaloes (8-0) shook off a slow start and blasted in seven of their goals in the second half.

Charlton Shankar and Isaac Jiminez scored two goals each, and Cesar Reyes added three assists. Giovanni Marin chipped in a goal and two assists, Ricardo Marin scored once and Uriel Torres assisted another.
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