Soccer team poised for another strong season

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The Mustangs have come stampeding out of the gate this season, recording four wins in their first seven games and losing only twice, while averaging three goals a game.

With the first conference game set to kickoff today against defending champs Santa Rosa, Head Coach David Bond has plenty of reasons for optimism based on some pre-conference showings by his team.

What makes the Mustangs’ results impressive are the strength of the opposing schools they’ve taken on. The Mustangs have brushed aside perennial powerhouses Yuba, Skyline and Merritt College.

In fact, six of the seven teams the Mustangs faced were among the top 16 in the state.

Off to an incredible start is freshman striker Josue Araiza, netting 14 goals in six games.

The Mustangs have worked to put together a stout defense, predicated on not only a strong back line, but on the entire side pressuring the ball and not allowing the opposition out of their half.

“This year there’s a real commitment to every time we go out, let’s be the best defensive team. You’ll hear us say this all the time: let’s play soccer on the other team’s half of the field.”

The work seemed to pay dividends during the Sept. 15 game against Lassen, in which the Mustangs dominated a very strong team, particularly in the first half, as the Lassen team could not find any breathing room and failed to test the Delta goalkeeper.

Although the game ended in a scoreless tie, Bond’s team created a number of opportunities and the Lassen defense were made to look like they were moving in slow motion.

The imagination and creativity of play maker Alexis Leon was something Lassen simply could not solve for the duration of the game.

The intensity of the Mustangs’ attack is a result of a high octane, unconventional system that employs three defenders, six midfielders and one striker.

When executed properly, this is a system that vexes opposing defenders with its movement and fluidity.

With six midfielders, the ball moves around very quickly and the players’ tireless movement without the ball makes it almost impossible to figure out which player to mark.

“It’s a confusing system . . . we play a 3-6-1, nobody plays a 3-6-1. One of the things that happen if we get it right is if you watch our games, we’re never marked. There’s always an opportunity for someone to get a shot off,” said Bond.

With the vast improvement shown by the program as a whole over the years, and now doing so with a style of play that is very easy on the eye, the soccer team is a must watch this year and looks to go very far.

“If you want to see good soccer, if you want to see quality players then this is the place to come see it,” said Bond.

SCHEDULE

Sept. 23
at home Santa Rosa Junior College, 4 p.m.
Sept. 27
at Modesto Junior College, 4 p.m.
Oct. 4
at home against American River College, 4 p.m.
Oct. 7
at Cosumnes River College, 4 p.m.
Oct. 11
at West Hills College, 4 p.m.
Oct. 14
at home against Fresno City College, 4 p.m.
Oct. 18
at home agianst College of the Sequoias, 4 p.m.
Oct. 21
at Taft College, 3 p.m.