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Rangers under-13 boys advance to Sweet 16
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The Manteca Rangers under-13 boys team advanced to the California Youth Soccer Association State Cup’s Sweet 16 round of play.

This weekend was the Round1 of most of the CYSA State Cup National Championships, which began with 54 teams, throughout Northern California. After 90 percent of the first-round games were pushed back a week due to numerous field closures from the storms, the games finally kicked off.

The Rangers were relocated to Mistlin Sports Complex in Ripon, where they had to play their first preliminary elimination games against the Lodi Crushers and then do battle again against the Union City AFC Barcelona team on Saturday.

Manteca opened with a 4-2 victory over Lodi.

In game one against the Crushers, the Rangers started off firing on all cylinders as they moved the ball around the field with great confidence, eventually finding the feet of forward Manuel Nuno for a breakaway to goal to put the Rangers up 1-0 in the first five minutes.

Then, again in the 9th minute of play, the team found Marcus Montano, the team’s other dangerous forward for score number two.

Eleven minutes later, Lodi attempted what looked to be a crossing ball but found it pinging off of a flurry of Rangers defenders and Crusher attackers, eventually redirecting itself past Rangers goalkeeper Abel Lopez .

The Rangers went back into battle to take that momentum away, but five minutes later Lodi found a slotted ball and equalized the score at 2-2, just minutes prior to halftime.

“My halftime talk with the boys basically consisted of reminding them of their basic individual and team responsibilities on the field, and I told them that we shouldn’t celebrate a full victory until the end of the game, and it was time to go back to simple soccer again,” coach Vince Meyer said.

The boys listened well as they went right back to work and added two more goals in the second half to finish the game with a 4-2 victory.

Game two was pretty much a repeat of game one, but stiffer competition came from Barcelona. Within the first 10 minutes of play, defender Jahrie Gray stopped an attacking Union City forward, and pushed a quick counterattacking pass to midfielder Alex Hernandez, who found Nate Edwards for a crossing ball inside the 6-yard box which Alex finished for goal one.

He game went back and forth for approximately 15 minutes before Union City found a deep ball to a forward who found his way to the Rangers box for the equalizer goal. Halftime ended tied, 1-1.

When play resumed, both team methodically tried to find the weak link to each other’s game plan, but 30 minutes later both teams had to settle for a well deserved and respectable draw.

“I think we had a good day to be proud of, as we had some scoring great scoring opportunities in both games,” Meyer said. “Overall, the team left everything out on the field and did the best they could for today.”

Union City and Lodi squared off Sunday morning. The Rangers needed Lodi to win or tie and got their wish, as Lodi battled Union City to a 1-1 deadlock.

Manteca will compete in the Sweet 16 round this Saturday at the Morgan Hill Soccer Complex.

“We are very excited about the next game opportunity coming up, as our team goal this year was to reach at least the quarterfinals or better,” Meyer said.