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A touch of style
Sierra dazzles East Union with passing, balance
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East Unions Dante Pasquini tries to clear the ball out of the goal area with a scissor kick. - photo by HIME ROMERO

One scoring sequence summed up Sierra High’s 5-0 drubbing of visiting rival East Union Wednesday.

It ended with Ruben Lopez streaking to the far post after Amir Guedoir crossed it from the left side and putting it away for a stunning 3-0 Sierra lead in the 17th minute.

What set that up was a dazzling display of touch passing, field switching, deft ball trapping, communication and a couple impressive 1-on-1 moves that kept the possession alive.

Guedoir wasn’t alone on the assist; Jose Acosta, Joel Boling and Erick Noriega were also in on the action. Further illustrating Sierra’s impressive possession game was that five different Timberwolves scored.

“Everybody touches the ball,” said Sierra coach Jose Montes. “That’s what we do in practice: one touch, two touches and get rid of it. We’re trying to get them prepared for the quick decisions they have to make in the game.”

And “quick” was the name of this game.

Sierra (2-0 Valley Oak League, 8-2-1 overall) was quick to the ball at the outset and quickly controlled the tempo. Then it quickly scored.

In the fifth minute, East Union defender Dylan Foster was called for a handball at the top of EU’s penalty box while battling with Guedoir for a 50-50 ball in the air.

Acosta would then deliver his second impressive goal in as many matches, curling the ball over the wall and to the upper-left 90 well beyond the reach of East Union keeper Dominic Riella (six saves).

In Monday’s VOL opener against Oakdale, it was Acosta’s scissor-kick goal from the top of the 18-yard line that was the talk of Sierra’s 5-1 win.

“It’s just practice,” he said. “We work on those things in practice and try to do it in the game. It just worked out today.”

Also scoring were Bryan Ramos (9th minute), Guedoir (34th minute) and Dominic Alejandre (44th minute). Guedoir also assisted Alejandre’s goal, and his own score was set up by connecting passes from goalie Jason Angelo and Boling.

East Union (1-1, 3-7) had a few good looks but was thwarted by Angelo (six saves) on several tries. The Lancers were outshot 16-9 — 11-6 on frame.

“They caught us flat-footed a little bit and it was hard for us to get back into the game,” East Union coach Clarence Goes said. “We have to take it as an experience and be more prepared next time — be physically ready as well as mentally ready.

“Sierra obviously played a good game today; I can’t take nothing away from them. They moved the ball around well and found openings and that’s what killed us.”

The good news for East Union is that’s there is still plenty of time to right the ship. Only two players graduated from last year’s team that was in contention for the league title on the final day, so the talent is there. That was proven when the Lancers battled the Timberwolves to a 3-2 tie in the Sierra Tournament on Sept. 3.

Sierra, despite its hot start, is taking a similar approach.

Next Monday, the Timberwolves square off with Manteca, while East Union hosts Weston Ranch.

“It’s still the beginning of the season,” Montes said. “We didn’t want to come out and put too much pressure on (the East Union game) — we want to take it one game at a time and just add points as we go.”