WAPATO - The Sunnyside Grizzlies kept the Wapato Wolves at bay yesterday in a non-league soccer match and finally got luck to side with them in the 72nd minute of play to come away with a 1-0 victory.
"We played a passive game," said Sunnyside Coach Juan Pineda. "We were too confident."
That over-confidence stems from a 14-0 thrashing the Grizzlies gave Wapato the last time these two teams met.
But Pineda said Wapato looked good and his team was flat.
"We were too relaxed and waiting for something to happen."
What the Grizzlies were waiting for came near the end of regulation. Sergio Licona took a direct kick from 35 yards out. He sent the shot over the wall of Wapato players and the speed and trajectory of the ball confused the defensive players, Pineda said.
"The ball curved and dropped by the post, making it impossible for the Wapato keeper to defend against it," Pineda said. "It was like a Beckham-style shot."
Sunnyside struggled in the first half to even get a touch on the ball, although the Grizzlies also had several opportunities to score in the early part of the match.
Javier Contreras rushed a kick in front of Wapato's goal and kicked the shot wide. Jordy Mogrovejo barely missed when he anticipated a corner kick and fired the ball towards the goal. Pineda said he missed by inches.
In the second half Sunnyside also had chances. Both Mogrovejo and Alfredo Gomez missed on shots that could have gone in. Reyes Cuevas tried to fake the Wapato keeper in a one-on-one situation, but kicked the ball straight to him.
"We had our chances but we weren't playing hard," Pineda said. "It's better to have this performance early in the season in a non-league match. You can learn from it."
The Grizzlies fired 14 shots on goal against the Wolves. Wapato recorded six shots on goal. Sunnyside keeper Eddie Garcia recorded four saves.
Pineda substituted liberally to try to get his players out of their funk, in an attempt to turn lemons into lemonade. The extra substitutions enabled Pineda to see what his bench players can do.
"I learned what they can do, when to put them in and where to put them," Pineda said.
Sunnyside (1-0-1) will host Eastmont on Saturday, May 19, at 1 p.m.