Pumas pounce too little, too late

CASA league soccer team falls to leaders

by: Photo By Brian Liebenstein - Bani Viramonte takes the ball on his left foot and seeks an attack path for Pumas in Sunday soccer action. Pumas, from Madras, fell to league leader Deportivo Olimpia.

   Sports Editor
   Taking certain risks in the first half cost the Pumas goal keeper to surrender three goals in what turned into a 4-3 loss to the league-leading Deportivo Olimpia team in a Cascade Area Soccer Association match on Sunday in Bend.
   By beating Pumas, Deportivo Olimpia finished its regular season 10-1.
   But Pumas recovered from trailing 4-1 at halftime of the match that was stopped once in each half by the referee to allow both teams to rehydrate. Temperatures were near 95 or higher for most of the match.
   Cutting Olimpia's attempts and making it miss all the shots it took in the second half of the match helped Pumas go on a few scoring runs itself and wind up with two goals -- one on a penalty kick -- in the second half.
   While unable to catch Madras rival Deportivo Jalisco for the fourth and final spot in the portion of the playoffs to determine a league champion, Pumas played strongly enough to draw coach Jose Lopez's praise at the end of its defeat.
   "We just needed a little bit more energy. It was hot out there," Lopez said. Yet, the veteran player-coach, who chose not to compete in Sunday's match, noted that he would have liked to have seen what would have happened had the teams kept playing when a water break was called by the referee in the second half.
   "I felt like we started making them feel a little pressure. It would have been interesting to see if they could have held up, if we kept attacking" said Lopez.
   Also an assistant coach for Madras High's boys soccer program, Lopez admitted that both teams felt the heat at times, but he sensed some change in the flow in the match after Pumas Pedro Macias and Esteban Valerio pounced on a pair of chances to score in the first 15 minutes of the second half after trailing 3-0 and 4-1 in the first half.
   Rather than looking as calm and controlled as in the first half, Deportivo Olimpia showed some signs of waining stamina. Taking advantage, Pumas cut the difference from 4-1 to 4-3 with at least half the second half still left.
   With attacks from Bani Viramonte, Homero Lopez and others helping create opportunities, Pumas got off shots from less than 20 yards a couple times late in the second half.