Behind sophomore Alonso Vera’s brace, the Garden City Buffalo boys soccer team edged the Great Bend Panthers, 2-0, Thursday night at Buffalo Stadium. The win completed the season sweep of the Panthers, as Garden City outscored Great Bend 4-1 in two games this season.
“We are making progress, and I think we are headed in the right direction,” head coach Joaquin Padilla said of his team’s performance so far this season. “It seems we have been more consistent as a team since our big loss versus Hays.”
Padilla was referencing the loss the Buffs suffered earlier this season in Hays, when they lost to the Indians 5-0.
The Buffs have been consistently good since the loss to Hays, winning three out of their last four games. They have allowed just three goals, and have won the past two games by the score of 2-0.
Although Garden City dominated the first half on both sides of the pitch, the Buffs were unable to have anything to show for it, going into the half scoreless with the Panthers.
Garden City had a few chances of scoring in the first. In the 25th minute, Vera couldn't capitalize on a one-on-one situation against the Panther goalie, and in the 26th minute Vera hit the right upright, barely missing out on the first goal of the game.
The second half was much more rewarding for the Buffaloes as both of their goals came in the last 40 minutes. Vera’s first goal came in the the 47th minute, after a missed shot from junior Brian Carrera ricocheted from the right post. Vera was there to clean it up and open up the scoring for the Buffaloes.
After the first goal, it became tougher for the Panthers to have any success in the last third of the pitch, and they rarely saw any meaningful possessions.
The second Buffalo goal came in the 79th minute, after a defensive miscue allowed Vera to capitalize, giving the sophomore a brace for the game in the closing seconds of the game.
“It wasn't my best game so far,” said Vera about his performance. “I missed a couple shots there, but I’m happy to get to get two goals to help the team get a win tonight.”
Vera, just like his coach, is seeing the team get better this season.
“We're doing better this year than we did last, and we're getting better game after game," he said. "Great Bend beat us here, 3-0, last year, so we had to get them this year.”
Even after the Buffs' second straight decisive win, Padilla knows there are things to fix going into the Wichita North Cup on Monday.
“Its great to see consistency game after game," he said. "I just wish we could have started seeing this sort of consistency six games ago. We still need to fix little mistakes here and there, and start getting the ball in the net more often.”
Garden City is in the home stretch of 2017, traveling to Wichita to take part of the aforementioned North Cup Monday. The Buffs will first play Wichita West at 3:15 p.m. Monday