Mustangs Shut Out Scotland
But there was plenty for Mustang coach Michael Shamberger to like about the final result.
"I'll take a win against a 4-A team any day," Shamberger said after the 1-A Mustangs defeated the Scots 1-0. "I also like getting that shutout in the first game of the season."
On a night that both teams focused, unsuccessfully for the most part, on trying to beat each other in transition, the game's only goal was produced by a combination of passes.
In the seventh minute of the match, Carlos Avila won a ball on the left side of the field and linked up with Raul Chavez, going forward. Chavez in turn passed to Joaquin Diaz, who crossed a ball that Bernardo Cruz headed into the net at the far post.
About seven minutes later, the Scots manufactured their best first-half chance to even the score.
A long kick by Scot goalkeeper Vincent Burns went over the Mustang defense and onto the stride of Joe Bellinger. The Scot forward was ready to unload a shot from 10 yards out when Mustang defender Manual Mendoza closed fast and somehow cleanly knocked the ball away with a slide tackle.
Going into the last minute of the match, the Mustangs enjoyed a 14-8 edge in shot attempts. The Scots' Adam Locklear sent a long ball into the Mustang penalty box. Cruz, the second-half goalkeeper, went out to get it and sweeper Edwin De La Cruz slipped as Burns, now a field player, went up for the header.
"When I fell and looked up I thought, Oh no," De La Cruz said.
Burns' attempt flew outside the left post of the open goal. Moments later the final whistle blew.
It was a good start for the Mustang goalkeepers Eric Diaz and Cruz, and De La Cruz, Mendoza, Rogelio Catalan and the other Mustang defenders. Diego Garcia helped the Mustangs control the midfield.
De La Cruz has taken over for the graduated George Domingo, a fixture at the sweeper position for most of the last four years.
"It's the first time I've played on defense," De La Cruz said, "but I have guys back there with me that have experience. The shutout shows that we played a good game. I'm pleased with that."
A busy first week continues with matches at South Davidson on Tuesday and at home against Central Davidson on Thursday (6:30 p.m.).
Shamberger felt the combination of a warm evening and three days without practice contributed to his team not looking as sharp as it did during a couple of scrimmages the previous week.
"This team has a lot of talent on it and I can sub a lot without dropping off," he said. "When we're clicking, it's a beautiful thing to see."
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