Raiders beat Kofa in shootout
Friday night left Marcos Rodriguez thankful for second chances.
After missing a penalty shot in the second half, Rodriguez was able to score the game winning shootout goal in Cibola’s 1-0 victory over Kofa.
“We’re really confident with Marcos (Rodriguez), he’s a fantastic player,” Cibola coach Mike Fritz said. “The best soccer players in the world miss penalty kicks, that happens. We were confident he would come back and make that one for us.”
Rodriguez was smiling ear to ear after the game knowing that he helped his team to a victory on their home field.
“It was pretty exciting to score the game-winning goal,” Rodriguez said. “It was a lot of pressure but it was good. It wasn’t just me though, it was thanks to the goalie (Carlos Raygoza) and the whole team.”
The win increased the Raiders winning streak to four games and helped them maintain a perfect 4-0 record.
“We’re just taking it one game at a time,” Fritz said. “Every game in Yuma County is very difficult. All the teams here are very balanced — every game is a battle. We just need to come back and be ready for the next one.”
The Kings offense was dominate throughout all 100 minutes of the game. But with every shot fired from a Kofa player, Raygoza was there to scoop up the ball.
Raygoza faced six shots from the Kofa (1-1) offense and allowed only three of the five shootout shots past him.
“They’re (Kofa) a good team, they’re competitive — they put up a good match and we didn’t expect that,” Raygoza said. “(Kofa had) six shots, but it’s not just about me. All my teammates put all their heart in it...It’s thanks to us working hard at practice.”
The Kings were short a player after Abelardo Garcia received a red card for retaliation in the 70th minute. That call was the difference in the game for the Kings, Kofa coach Jamie Nicewander said.
“(It came down to) unlucky, unfortunate plays inside the box — before the ball was played into the box a player was kicking one of our guys and our guy pushed him off and he got called for retaliation,” Nicewander said. “And that’s typical — a lot of time retaliation is the one that gets called. We would’ve wished that would’ve been seen and then the game would’ve been different.
“It would’ve been a red card for the other player and then our guy wouldn’t have gotten it. But that happens sometimes. ... Our guys played phenomenal — we still dominated play. ... In the end we just weren’t able to put it away.”
Despite the loss, Nicewander said he was still impressed by his goalie, Jose de la Torre, and his midfielder Albert Munoz.
“He (de la Torre) came up big and made some saves,” Nicewander said. “If our guys afterwards make their PKs then that’s our game, but they didn’t.
“Albert Munoz was really playing well for us today. He came in and gave us great minutes, towards the end he was putting on a display out there. He was winning balls for us and playing balls through.”
The Kings will hit the road and take on Lake Havasu at 6 p.m. on Tuesday. But before they take the field, Nicewander wants his players to remember one thing.
“Whether you get kicked or not, you can’t retaliate,” Nicewander said. “Whether you get punched — you can’t retaliate. Because that’s what the ref’s going to see and that’s what happened to us tonight.”