RICHLAND - Sunnyside always expects a tough match from the Hanford Falcons but this past Saturday, things were easier than expected.
"Hanford has always been a tough team," Sunnyside Coach Juan Pineda said. "They have a new coach and probably a new system. It worked out better for us, we were able to execute," he said of his team's 5-1 victory.
That they did, building up a 3-0 lead before the Falcons could get on the scoreboard.
The Grizzlies drew first blood in the 22nd minute when Alex Zaragoza hit a direct kick into the goal.
"This is his third direct kick this season," Pineda said. "He blasts the ball and puts a curve on it. He's been very effective with that."
Zaragoza set the ball up at the 25-yard line as Hanford put up a wall of players to try to disrupt his shot. Zaragoza kicked the ball over the wall where it curved and dropped behind the Hanford keeper.
"It was a beautiful goal," Pineda said.
Up 1-0, Sunnyside's Alex Aguilar made it 2-0 when he scored in the 24th minute. Teammate Danny Alvarez came up from his defender spot and kicked a cross from the right side of the field. Aguilar anticipated the ball and jumped up and headed the ball in.
"It was another nice play," Pineda said. "This was Danny's second game and he's catching up."
In the 31st minute, Aguilar gave Sunnyside a 3-0 lead again with a direct kick. He kicked the ball around the wall of Hanford players right by the post just out of the reach of the keeper's hands.
In the 34th minute, a Sunnyside player committed a hard foul on a Hanford player that resulted in the Falcons getting a penalty kick. Dino Ramic put it just past Sunnyside's Joaquin Perez to score and bring Hanford to within two goals.
"Joaquin committed to the right side and touched the ball but couldn't get a full hand on it," Pineda said.
In the 49th minute Brian Galvan scored for Sunnyside off an assist from Zaragoza to make it 4-1 and in the 78th minute, Aguilar scored again, this time assisted by Zaragoza.
"We're growing after each game," Pineda said. "We're setting goals for the team. We want to improve our physical endurance. Going to Hanford and beating them is meaningful. It's increasing our faith in the philosophy we're using this year.
Sunnyside (2-1, 4-1) will host Kamiakin Tuesday, March 27, at 7 p.m.