East Union and Lathrop started the second half of the Valley Oak League boys soccer season the same way that they started the first half — with a 2-2 tie.
Visiting Lathrop (1-2-5, 6-2-5 overall) can ill afford more ties moving forward as the league’s top squads continue to inch away.
“It was a game I really thought we had,” said Lathrop coach Lenny Lial. “But we end up with another tie.”
It was nearly a loss.
Roberto Macias gave Lathrop a 2-1 lead in the 58th minute, but Alejandro Perez knotted it back up for East Union (3-2-3, 6-3-4) just four minutes later. Shortly after that the Lancers had a golden opportunity to go ahead after they were awarded a penalty kick.
Omar Guzman came through for one of his seven saves with Alfredo Solorzano taking the PK. East Union coach Victor Polanco said his team had plenty of chances to net additional goals but was thwarted by Guzman.
“Their keeper had an amazing game,” Polanco said.
East Union drew first blood in the 24th minute off a Jordan Kron throw-in. By rule, goals do not count on a throw-in if the ball is not deflected in by a player, and Lial said he didn’t see that happen from where he was standing.
Lathrop answered moments later with Felipe Gomez’s goal.
“We were very lucky we didn’t end up with a loss,” Lial said. “It was an exciting game, a very physical game that both teams obviously wanted badly. But it was again disappointing. We had it right there and ended up with another tie. I’m very proud of our guys; they never give up and keep working.”
Polanco, on the other hand, was satisfied with the tie. The Lancers ruined rival Manteca’s bid for an unbeaten record on Tuesday after they had two forfeit their two wins from last week for using an ineligible player.
East Union moved into a third-place tie with Oakdale, which lost to Sierra 3-0, with the draw and remain in contention for a second straight VOL title.
“I told the boys nothing is over yet,” Polanco said. “We still have a chance, we’re still going to fight for it.”
Manteca 3, Kimball 0
In Tracy, the Buffaloes (6-1-1, 15-1-1) took a three-goal lead into halftime and cruised from there.
Marcus Montano, Manuel Nuno and Michael Garibay each scored. Juan Delatorre and Montao each had an assist. Goalkeeper Abdiel Chiquito had four saves in the shutout.
Sierra 3, Oakdale 0
The Timberwolves (5-1-2, 9-2-4) are playing six of their final league contests on the road starting with Thursday’s trip to Oakdale.
Nico Gonzalez accounted for both of Sierra’s first-half goals, while Ruben Lopez capped scoring in the second half.
Waterford 3, Ripon Ch. 1
The Knights (3-3-2, 7-4-3) were 40 minutes away from taking sole possession of third place after Max Koetsier’s goal had them ahead 1-0 by halftime.
Danny Andrade of Waterford (4-4, 8-5-1), which is locked with Le Grand for third place, took over in the second half, scoring in the 48th, 63rd and 73rd minutes.