Despite taking 15 first-half shots, East Union could manage just one goal in the first 39 minutes Monday night when Gerardo Romero found the net seconds before the halftime whistle on the way to a 5-0 Valley Oak League win over visiting Lathrop at Dino Cunial Field.
“It was a different game from our 2-1 loss here to Weston Ranch,” Lancers coach Victor Polanco said. “The guys were disappointed in that game and came out trying to score as many as they could in this one.”
Romero had both first-half goals for East Union (2-1 VOL, 4-1 overall) off of assists from Alex Velasquez and eight minutes into the second half Romero arced a pass to a streaking Eric Flores for a 3-0 lead.
“He always gives a good service,” Polanco said of Romero. “He always looks for the space to his teammates – whoever is in front, especially on those long passes. And he is normally good for two or three goals.”
Romero said that his connection with Flores comes from more than just practice.
“On that pass my boy Eric came in he is fast – faster than me, that’s for sure – so I have to get him the ball,” Flores said. “We work on that in practice, but most of that is just natural.”
Flores added another goal in the second half on an assist from Daniel Gomez and said that he did not have time to think on the long pass from Romero.
“I wasn’t really thinking – I just had to shoot.” Flores said of the long pass from Romero. “This is only my third year of ever playing soccer and this team has taught me everything I know.”
Gomez made the score 5-0 on a penalty kick with four minutes left in the game.
Roni Hafed had seven saves for the Spartans (0-3, 0-9), all in the first half.
“I feel very strong about our defense,” Lathrop coach Alfredo Reynaga said. “I feel very strong about us controlling the tempo of the game. We have a lot of kids that are capable of doing so but our main issue is finishing.
“We have been able to get shots on goal, but we have not been able to finish it.”
Weston Ranch 4, Central Catholic 0
The host Cougars (3-0, 12-2-1) scored all of their goals in the final 25 minutes.
Joseph Mayorca earned a penalty kick that Omar Centeno converted for Weston Ranch’s first goal. Mayorca, Kevin Medina and Jose Espinoza each added a goal for the Cougars.
Manteca 1, Kimball 1
Midway through the second half the visiting Buffaloes (0-2-1, 3-5-1) broke a scoreless tie when Alex Ochoa netted a corner kick from Ramon Rojas. With four minutes left in the game the Jaguars (1-1-1, 2-7-1) knotted the score on a penalty kick at Don Nicholson Stadium.
“It was frustrating.” Buffaloes coach Justin Coenenburg said. “We played good enough to win but we made that mistake in the box and that’s the way it goes.
“We have to regroup in practice and hope to beat Central Catholic in our next game.”
Sierra 2, Oakdale 2
The Timberwolves (2-0-2, 8-5-2) tied the Mustangs (2-0-2, 9-2-4) twice but could not take a lead.
“It was a hard-fought game – our players never gave up,” Sierra coach Joe Pires said. “We were behind twice and kept fighting back and eventually got the equalizer both times.”
Eddie Aguilar scored the first Timberwolves goal on a penalty kick and Sierra got its second goal when an Athen Gonsalves corner kick bounced around in front of the Oakdale net and ended up in the net.
East Union 6, Lathrop 1
Andrew Cortez had two goals and an assist for the Lancers.
Jacob Garcia (three assists), Tyler Saulier, Giovanni Gomez and Jonathan Quintana each added a goal for East Union.
Logan Gazaway scored for the Spartans on an assist from Xavier Peynaga.