The Tigers’ chemistry was on point and confidence looked high after an offseason during which the team meshed and played nine exhibition games, including an impressive 1-1 draw against Turlock High, a perennial Central California Conference contender.
Tuesday’s match was the Western Athletic Conference opener for both teams, and Patterson controlled the tempo from the beginning.
“I saw the focus in the players’ faces before the game — this was a determined team,” said Patterson coach Greg Hartsell. “They were really excited for this one, and you could see that energy translate on the field. We wanted the ball more than (Livingston) did.”
Coming out with a dangerous sense of aggressive offense, the Tigers midfield was all over the pitch, setting up attackers and creating opportunities for themselves.
After several early runs, pushing the ball up the field and challenging Livingston goalkeeper Alan Contreras, Patterson (5-4-1 overall, 1-0-0 WAC) found the back of the net with a strike by midfielder Andres Herrera in the 3rd minute.
Herrera, a sophomore, took control of a loose ball and dribbled down the field with only Contreras infront of him.
As the Wolves’ keeper came running out to defend the ball, Herrera booted it past him and into the net.
On the attack less than two minutes later, Herrera’s second shot on goal bounced off Contreras and into a gap between the Wolves’ keeper on one side and Tiger Wilver Barajas on the other. Barajas, a junior, was there waiting for the rebound, and he punched the ball into the left side of the net to make it 2-0.
In the 17th minute of the first half, Patterson senior Kiki Gonzalez made a sharp cut into the penalty area with his first touch and immediately fired a left-footed shot that beat Contreras to the far post.
But Livington’s Adrian Partida converted a chance in the 12th minute, and cut the deficit to 3-1 going into halftime.
“We knew that this would be a competitive game — Livingston is a good team,” Gonzalez said. “But we came out strong and we wanted to give it all we could.”
Gonzalez opened the scoring in the second half for the Tigers, when he received a return pass and fired a shot past Contreras from the right side to make it 4-1.
The Wolves (7-3-1, 0-1-0) added a second goal later in the half, but it was not enough.
Hartsell said he was impressed with his squad in their league debut, and with the influx of different players throughout the game and the contributions they put forth.
“We need this type of energy and effort in every game,” he said. “This was good for us to build some momentum, but we’ve got to be ready for our next game. We need to continue to make sure that we can finish with similar results.”
The Tigers will continue their season at 4 p.m. today, Sept. 13, when they travel to face Ceres’ Central Valley Hawks (10-1-1).
The JV Tigers’ WAC season-opening game against Livingston ended in a 2-2 tie Tuesday, Sept. 11, at Patterson Community Stadium.
“We played much better in the second half, but we have to keep our focus throughout,” said Patterson coach Cade Tomasegovich. “We need to play with a sense of urgency.”
Late in the first half, Patterson’s Jordy Corral ripped a shot from 30 yards out, placing it high in the left corner.
The Wolves wasted little time and tied the game less than a minute later to make it 1-1 at the intermission.
The second half offered much of the same, with the teams trading possessions, and eventually, goals.
The Tigers again pulled ahead in the 49th minute when Robert Rodriguez took a pass from Corral and knocked a roller past Livingston’s keeper and into the net.
But the Wolves netted the equalizer in the 58th minute to force a draw.
“We can’t wait for the ball to make our attack,” Tomasegovich said. “We’ve got a few things to work on at practice — it’s going to be all business this week.”
Contact Marc Aceves at 892-6187, ext. 28, or email@example.com.