East Union broke open a tight game with three second-half goals, and Gio Padilla notched a hat trick for the Lancers in a 5-1 Valley Oak League win over Manteca at Guss Schmiedt Field.
“We are a second-half team,” East Union coach Ronnie Green said. “I don’t know why. We kind of played flat the first half — didn’t play bad but didn’t play well. In the second half we put more pressure on Manteca.
“We need to work on distribution and passing the ball. We plan on making a long section run again this year so we are working from the ground up.”
Padilla got both goals for the Lancers (5-1 VOL, 13-4-2 overall) in the first half. His first score came in the 17th minute off of a pinpoint pass from Alex Arroyo from the end line and the second on a penalty kick with eight minutes left in the half.
His third goal 10 minutes into the second half was on an assist from German Gonzalez to make the score 3-0.
“I always just follow up with the play,” Padilla said of his first goal. “And that’s what I am always there for. I looked for the goal and I scored it.
“Every game we are improving and improving. I am seeing new things from our team and we are getting better and better.”
Gonzalez added two quick goals at 56 and 57 minutes to make the score 5-0 with assists by Daniel Gutierrez on the first one and Alberto Gomez on the second.
With 18 minutes left in the game, Paulo Noriega got the Buffaloes (0-4-2, 1-7-3) on the board when Elvis Jiminez got him the ball and he powered it in to make the score 5-1.
“It was a good ball he (Jiminez) sent to me,” Noriega said. “I just knew I had to get it in the back of the net.”
Manteca coach Daniel Guevara was pleased with his team’s effort, especially at the beginning of the game.
“I thought for the first 15 minutes we played very well,” Guevara said. “I made some adjustments to our lineup and it started paying off. The middle of the game is when we gave up a lot of passes.
“Other than that we played well. We could have played better, obviously, but they are a tough team. I thought we could compete with them. I can’t wait until the next time we play them. I think we can do better.”
The Lancers outshot the Buffaloes 20-5 with East Union goalie making three saves and Manteca goalie Eduardo Medina blocking nine.
On Tuesday, East Union travels to Central Catholic and Manteca hosts Oakdale.
East Union 2, Manteca 1
Christian Perez scored both goals for the Lancers.
Alejandro Tornero notched the lone goal for the Buffaloes.