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Delhi crushed in home opener
Panthers hand Hawks 7-1 defeat
Delhi soccer 2
Picazo Alexander (left) of Delhi goes up and challenges Pachecos goalkeeper during the first half of Wednesdays preseason bout. - photo by EDDIE RUIZ/The Journal

It didn’t take long for the visiting Pacheco High Panthers to respond to the Delhi Hawks first goal of Wednesday’s home opener.

Fueled by the home crowd and momentum, the Hawks came out with a fury in the opening minutes of the half, challenging Pacheco and playing to their level, but that upside did not last long.

The adrenaline was pumping and Delhi notched their first goal of the game with 18 minutes remaining in the half, but then Pacheco tallied seven unanswered goals to pick up their fifth win of the season and hand Delhi their first loss of the year.

“We have had worse losses in our opener, before but this time we just broke apart,” said Delhi head coach Armando Salazar. “Big reason for it was that we were playing kids in different places and we also changed our goalkeeper.”

Starting goalkeeper Joel Fuentes provided some solid defense, making multiple stops just before allowing two goals from the Panthers heading into the half.

Changes were made by Salazar and eventually Julio Cueva was subbed in for Fuentes. Cueva eventually allowed five goals to be scored after the faltering defense of Delhi looked to be playing with very little energy.

“I think our guys got overconfident,” Salazar said about his team scoring first. “Little mistakes like that brought them down and after that I think we also made some mistakes. No discredit to Pacheco, they are a great team, but I feel we also gave them some goals that should not have been.”

The first goal for Delhi was notched in the 22 minute mark after leader Ivan Udave made a quick one-step turn followed by a misdirection step, that initially gave Udave enough time to heave a low post shot to the opposite corner from about 20 yards out.

“That first goal was good, but then they had their stops and we made mistakes as well that cost us,” Salazar said. “Sure, preseason games you want to win them, but to us it’s more about trying to find the right fit. Once we find the right fit then it will all work itself out.”

With major substitutions and a drained team, Pacheco went full force in the second half and was as effective as any team could be on the pitch.

“Pacheco was very efficient and that was one of the benefits for our boys to see how a game like this can be. They pressured and defended us well, but this game we played on attack instead of defensive,” Salazar added. “I think that is what we need to work on since it’s a weakness.”

The next game for the Hawks will be at home against Lathrop at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.