>Madras team in midst of playoff picture
The Pumas, a Cascade Area Soccer Association team whose players are mainly from Madras, built a 3-1 lead in the first half then cruised to a 4-1 win over America on Sunday at Culver.
Both foes entered Sunday's match 3-2 in the CASA standings. By winning the match that included the ejection of one of the America players, who kicked the referee, Pumas gained three points and lifted itself into the league's playoff picture. At the end of the 11 games each team will play, the top four teams will battle for the championship while the next four in the standings will vie for a consolation crown.
Coached by Madras High junior varsity coach Jose Lopez, the Pumas used teamwork to wear down America.
After scoring less than 10 minutes into the game, only to surrender a goal which tied the contest, the Pumas went ahead 2-1 when Oscar Macias boomed home a penalty kick approximately 28 minutes into the first half action.
The third first-half goal for the Pumas was put in by Dave Roberts in the final five minutes of the opening 45-minute half.
Homero Lopez converted the man advantage the red card had provided the Pumas when he added the final goal in their 4-1 win. A product of the Madras High soccer program, as well as the Pumas, Lopez eluded America's deep defenders when he ran onto a ball to create a one-on-one chance against America's goal keeper. Outnumbered on the field, 10-9, America took a risk or two which eventually backfired to give Lopez his point-blank shot.
But the Pumas' first goal in the June 8 win came at equal strength via a driving goal from between 15 and 20 yards away to the right side of the goal, as faced by the offense.
After a foul in the goal keeper's box against America gave Pumas the chance Macias converted, Roberts drove a rebound after a corner kick toward the goal.
"It bounced off someone, I'm not sure if it was the goal keeper or who, but then I saw it get under the cross bar," Roberts explained of his shot that had enough power to keep it from being caught or blocked over the goal.
A charged atmosphere after the red card was defused via a slightly longer than average halftime. But officers did arrive to make sure any flaring of tempers after the match was discouraged.
Lazaro Najera's goal keeping kept the Pumas in command once they regained the lead. He got most the shots America made in the second half back to a wing quickly in an effort to let teammates explode toward the America goal.
Victor Artiga, another the Madras High connections cultivated by Jose Lopez for the Pumas, was active at forward and flanking the midfielders.
Bani Viramontes appeared to cover the most territory for the Pumas on offense and defense.