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Grizzlies fall in shootout to winless Hanford

RICHLAND - After going scoreless in regulation and overtime, yesterday's match between the Sunnyside Grizzly boys soccer team and Hanford's was decided in a shootout.

The host Falcons claimed the win Thursday night as they outkicked Sunnyside 5-4 in the shootout.

The first four Hanford and Sunnyside players made their one-on-one shootout attempts, setting the stage for what proved to be the fifth and final attempt.

Sunnyside misfired on its try, while Hanford booted home the game winner by employing a fake to one side of the net before switching gears, and feet, and kicking the ball into the back of the Grizzly net.

The four Sunnyside players who scored in the shootout to set up the decisive fifth kick were Alfredo Gomez, Mark Meza, Javier Contreras and Isaac Meza.

Sunnyside Coach Juan Pineda said the Grizzlies had control of the ball for most of the match during regulation and overtime.

"They played very conservative with high numbers in the back. They played very defensively," Pineda said.

He noted Hanford attempted just four shots for the entire match, mostly content just to protect its own goal.

"For 80 percent of the game we had the ball on their side of the field," Pineda said. "Their plan was to reduce us from scoring and go to a shootout."

Hanford was winless heading into Friday's game, and Pineda said the Falcons' focus was getting a win on their senior night.

"They were disciplined, they were very defensive," he said. "They would waste time, use substitutions to run out the clock."

Still, Sunnyside had some chances among its 14 shot attempts to score and put the match away.

"In the first eight minutes of the game we had a good chance with Sergio Licona taking a shot hard on the ground, but it was blocked by the keeper," Pineda said.

The coach noted Sunnyside also had some headers off of corner kicks, but were knocked away by Hanford defenders.

Several of Sunnyside's shot attempts, he said, had to resort to trying kicks well away from the Hanford net because the Falcons packed the area with players.

"We had to force a lot of our shots, they were wide or went over the bar," Pineda said.

Sunnyside (4-9, 5-9-1) closes out the regular season next Tuesday at Wenatchee.

Win or lose, Pineda says the Grizzlies are assured of hosting a home playoff match on Saturday, May 8, against a team from Spokane.

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