Lead by Forward Diego Useda’s two goals in the first half helped propel the Sunny Hills Lancers to a 3-1 win over Troy to open Freeway League play.
Sunny Hills (11-5-1, 1-0) controlled the flow of the first half through organized passing and prolonged periods of possession in the Warrior’s half.
The Lancers passing and possession almost paid off once more when a pass by midfielder Amaury Maldonado put Ujera through on goal but his strike was saved by Warriors goalkeeper Daniel Rodriguez.
Troy dedicated themselves to defense in an attempt to stymie the Lancers offensive intensity, and Rodriguez was tested several more times in the first half by shots from both near and far.
The Warriors (1-9-4, 0-2) could not keep prolonged possession partly due to their defensive layout, but also due to the Lancers persistent pressure without the ball.
Almost every counterattack attempt by the Warriors would be quelled shortly after entering Lancer territory.
On several occasions pressure by the Lancers caused a poor pass by Warriors players that would be either intercepted or head out of bounds.
A more attack minded Troy came out at the start of the second half and the Warriors earned a corner kick in the opening minutes of the half.
As the opening minutes of the half transpired handball by a Sunny Hills defender just outside the penalty box led to the Warriors best chance of the game.
Troy forward Manuel Tovar placed the subsequent free kick shot to the left of the Lancers goalkeeper, who watched the ball enter the net, to cut the Lancers lead in half.
The Warriors could not take advantage of their newfound momentum caused by the goal and only mustered a few more scoring attempts in the half, none as powerful or potent as Tovar’s strike.
Sunny Hills responded to Troy’s goal by regaining their first half form and consistently keeping the game in their rivals side.
The Lancers constantly made use of the sides of the field by sending crosses into Troy’s penalty box over the course of the second half.
The crosses did not culminate in a goal for the Lancers, but building up play through the middle did.
Midfielder Cody Delzer extended the Lancers lead when a strike from inside the box made its way past Rodriguez.
Sunny Hills came close to further widening the score between the two rivals as the game drew to a conclusion.
Useda was a few feet if not inches away from netting a hat-trick and extending the Lancers lead to three when a low shot he took was out of Rodriguez’s reach but also past the post.
“It was a great game so for a while there it was 2-1 both teams working really hard,” and “we were able to get the job done,” said Sunny Hills Head Coach Mike Schade, who later added that the game was the Lancers league opener due to this past wednesday’s game against Fullerton being cancelled.
“We played a tough opponent today,” said Troy Head Coach Lester Maldonado, and added that “Their definately the standard of the league. They’ve been the standard for the last few years and so we’re very proud of the way we played.”
Sunny Hills will seek to stay undefeated in league play when when they visit Sonora High School to the on the Raiders on Wednesday while Troy will try to get their first league win Wednesday when they visit Fullerton High School to face the Indians.