Mixed bag for Madras boys soccer as team still eyes playoffs
For every step forward, it seems there is another step back for the Madras boys soccer team this season. After clawing their way back into the game to earn a draw at Gladstone, the Buffs were dispatched easily on their home field against Molalla on Monday afternoon.
On Tuesday last week, the White Buffalos traveled to Gladstone to take on a Gladiators squad that has been just mediocre on the year. Madras trailed by two goals at the halftime whistle, but they were able to fight in the second half to earn a 2-2 draw on the road.
"It would have been nice to get all three points on the road," said Madras head coach Clark Jones.
Instead of the three points for a win, the Buffs have to settle for just one. That said, it could have easily been zero points had the team not shown the tenacity to get back into the game.
Luis Benitez scored his sixth goal of the season on a direct free kick, cutting the Gladstone lead to just one midway through the half.
"That was a big boy kick," said Jones. "Actually, that was a grown man kick. He was a full 40 yards out."
Earlier this season, Benitez scored on a similar free kick against Sisters. Interestingly, that strike was also a second-half goal which cut the opponents' lead to 2-1.
Unlike the Sisters match, however, Madras was able to find the equalizer this time. Eben Tapia's corner kick found Israel Estrada, who scored his second of the year to tie things up.
On Monday, Madras came back home and faced TVC rival Molalla. Yet again, the team went into the break trailing, this time by a score of 3-1. Madras freshman Steve Gonzalez grabbed his third goal of the year just before the halftime whistle on a skillful through ball from Benitez.
Before that, though, the Indians got on the board twice in the first five minutes of the match, adding their third in the 13th minute.
It was the fifth time this season that the Buffs have been behind after 40 minutes, and it would prove to be fourth loss in such matches. The Indians reeled off three more goals in the second half, eventually prevailing with a 6-1 victory over Madras.
The loss drops the White Buffalos to 3-5-2 overall and 1-3-2 in the Tri-Valley Conference. With just four more matches left in the regular season, the Buffs are nearly out of runway to make a late push for the playoffs.
Madras can do itself a big favor this Thursday when the team travels to Estacada. The Rangers currently sit in third place in the TVC, one rung above the Buffs. In the first meeting between the teams, Madras and Estacada played to a 1-1 draw at MHS. Kickoff is scheduled for 4 p.m.
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