Lathrop coach Alfredo Reynaga came away encouraged after his Spartans dropped a 2-1 decision to host Sierra in the first Valley Oak League match for both teams Monday.
Ronaldo Macias gave Lathrop (0-1, 4-4-1) the initial lead in the first half, but the Timberwolves (1-0, 6-3-2) answered with two goals from Eddie Aguilar to escape with the victory.
Aguilar drew what Reynaga called a “phony” foul in the penalty box late in the first half and converted the PK for the equalizer. Jose Lemus dished it to Aguilar for the game-winner near the 70-minute mark. Sierra had a 19-5 lead, but Lathrop missed good opportunities in the opening half.
“We did well for the most part, but we really thought we should have had a bigger lead with the opportunities we had in the first half,” Reynaga said. “We collapsed late in the second half and Sierra kind of took over in the end, but overall it was a phenomenal game. Our kids know what kind of season they have with this outcome.”
Sierra coach Joe Pires was pleased with how his team responded in the second half.
“I thought we dominated the second half and had a lot of nice looks, we just hit the post a few times,” he said.
Weston Ranch 1, Kimball 1
STOCKTON — The reigning VOL champion Cougars (0-0-1, 2-4-4) let one slip away in the closing minutes as Kimball (0-0-1, 2-2-1) tied it with six minutes to go.
Ariel Silva pushed Weston Ranch ahead in the 72nd minute off a feed from Manuel Medina.
“We played much better in the second half and gave ourselves plenty of opportunities, we just couldn’t find the back of the net,” Weston Ranch coach Francisco Cisneros said.
Oakdale 3, Manteca 0
OAKDALE — The offensive woes continued for the Buffaloes (0-1, 4-4), who were held scoreless for the fourth time in five games.
Jake Mendoza, Adriel Fernandez and Winslow Barrales each netted a goal for Oakdale (1-0, 7-3). Manteca keeper Matsua Garcia-Mendez racked up 12 saves.
“It was 0-0 at halftime and they put a lot of pressure on us but we held strong,” Manteca coach Justin Coeneneberg said. “They had eight corner kicks in the first half and Matsua did a great job of keeping us in it. We had a couple of opportunities (to score) throughout the match we just could not put one in.”
Sierra 8, Lathrop 0
Miguel Villasenor lit up Lathrop for four goals, and Alex Cervantes added two in the onslaught.
Gerardo Sanchez and Mateo Garcia each had one. Goalies Daniel Batres and Josh Valdez combined for the shutout.