Trailing by a goal at halftime Thursday night, Kaleb McDonald scored two of three Oakdale goals in the second half as the Mustangs maintained its one-point lead for first place in the Valley Oak League with a 3-1 win over Sierra at Daniel Teicheira Memorial Stadium.
“We turned it around in the second half,” Oakdale coach Alfredo Quiroga said. “I told them that we were afraid, too cautious, tame and subdued. We were afraid of making mistakes and we were not going to win that way.
“If you want to win you have to play much harder than we played in that first half.”
After Brandon Martinez tied the game for the Mustangs (7-1-2 VOL, 10-4-4 overall) in the 55th minute on a rebound off of Alfie Harris’ corner kick, McDonald scored his first goal off of a rebound of Yassin Frei’s shot.
Then with six minutes left in the game, McDonald dribbled across the Timberwolves goal and fired a shot back across into the far corner for an insurance goal.
“They committed a lot of their defenders and I noticed they were all coming with extreme speed,” McDonald said of his second goal. “With experience I knew that if I pulled back and took one more touch they would all go flying past me and would cover their keeper’s sight and I would be able to squeeze a decent shot in.”
In the closing minutes of the first half, Tristan Gonzalez placed a long free kick near the net for Sierra (5-3-1, 8-6-2) and Andrew Banegas hammered it home for the lone Timberwolves goal.
After outshooting Oakdale 9-5 in the first half, Sierra was dominated in the second half, being outshot 11-6.
“We couldn’t get anything going in the second half,” Timberwolves coach Joe Pires said. “Oakdale got momentum and with one thing after another here we are.
“We just could not put anything together, period. We just had a really bad second half.”
Sierra hosts Manteca on Tuesday at 5:45 p.m. and the Mustangs host Weston Ranch at 5:15 p.m. Thursday with first place on the line.
Weston Ranch 2, Central Catholic 1
MODESTO — Cougars goal keeper Francisco Vega came up with a huge save in the second half on a Raiders penalty kick to help preserve the win for Weston Ranch (7-1-1, 9-1-5) and keep the Cougars a point-behind first-place Oakdale.
Vega notched another colossal save in the first half. Those were his only saves of the night.
Weston Ranch notched both of its goals in the first half off the foot of Bryan Rodriguez – one off an assist from Jesus Vega and the other assist came from Dannick Hernandez.
Nursing a four-point lead over third-place East Union, the Cougars travel to play the Lancers on Tuesday and will be without two of their top players. Against Central Catholic (1-6-2, 5-6-2), Elvin Bolanos received his third yellow card of the season and Aaron Silva sustained a red card, both of which disqualify them for the East Union game.
Oakdale 3, Sierra 0
Ryan Krause scored a goal and had an assist for the Mustangs.
Alfred Fernandez and Carter Sturtevant added a goal apiece and Juan Martinez chipped in an assist.
Oakdale goalie Vincent Peterson posted five saves.