Last night's match between Mid-Valley League boys soccer rivals Sunnyside and Prosser wasn't quite as close as the final 6-4 score might indicate.
The Grizzlies dominated the match rather handily on their way to their third consecutive victory. The only difference in the match was a 10-minute stretch late in the first half, where Sunnyside seemed to be unable to catch a break.
"We made a couple of errors," said Sunnyside Coach Juan Pineda, referring to the three goals Prosser scored late in the first half to tie the match going into the break.
Earlier in the season when the two teams met in Prosser, Sunnyside had trouble handling the style of play of the Mustangs. The Grizzlies struggled in their 2-1 victory with slowing down the long kick style of play Prosser utilizes to move the ball down field. After the first meeting, Pineda said the next time Sunnyside and Prosser would meet the game would be a different story.
Living up to his word, Pineda and his Grizzlies came out and took every avenue away from the Mustangs to start the game.
Junior Garcia was exceptional in last night's match, scoring four goals and picking up the assists on two others. Garcia scored the first goal for the Grizzlies at the fourth minute from an assist by teammate Mario De La Torre. De La Torre then hooked up with Garcia at the seventh minute for the second goal. Silvano Ramos then picked up an assist with Sunnyside's last goal of the first half, as Garcia scored at the 12th minute.
"We scored three quick goals to start the game," said Pineda. "I think the guys knew we needed to go out there and start playing our game."
Pineda said the Mustangs struggled developing an offense when the Grizzlies were able to keep the ball on the ground.
"The guys (Sunnyside) established their play," said Pineda. "We kept attacking."
But the Mustangs weren't quite ready to pack their bags and go home. Prosser battled back in the last 10 minutes of the first half to tie the game. Prosser scored their first goal at the 30th minute off a throw in. The Mustangs' second goal came at the 35th minute on a penalty kick. The final goal for Prosser came right before the end of the first half on a misplayed ball by Sunnyside defenders.
The Grizzlies fired right back at the start of the second half. Garcia scored his third goal with a little assistance from Prosser. Garcia kicked a ball that bounced off a Mustang defender and went right into the net.
Sunnyside missed an opportunity to add to its score when Garcia couldn't convert a penalty kick at the beginning of the second half.
Kyle Van de Graaf scored the fifth goal for the Grizzlies at the 67th minute from an assist by Garcia. Garcia then had the final goal for Sunnyside at the 38th minute with an assist by Luis Galvan.
Prosser scored its last goal right before the end of the game.
Sunnyside outshot Prosser 15 to 7 on goal.
Pineda said his Grizzlies did a nice job of re-establishing momentum in the second half, after withstanding the run by Prosser to finish out the opening session.
"We pretty much dominated the second half," said Pineda. "The guys came out fast and quick. We created a lot of opportunities."
Pineda was very impressed with the play of Diego Mendoza in last night's game. Pineda said his senior defender came under attack a lot by the Mustangs, as Prosser tried to stay away from the much taller Van de Graaf on the other side of the field.
Sunnyside (6-2, 8-2) will have its hands full this Thursday night at Selah. The Grizzlies needed a shootout at home at the beginning of the year to get by the Vikings.
"Their strength is defense," said Pineda. "That is what kept the game tied last time we played."
Pineda said for Sunnyside to be successful, the Grizzlies are going to have to over power Selah's backfield.
"We are going to have to be more physical," said Pineda.