For just the second time this season, the Turlock Bulldogs fell to Merced on the pitch after what resulted in two minor miscues with less than seven minutes left in regulation.
Merced's Anisa Saechao was the sole player to take advantage of the opportunity after breaking through the Turlock back-line in the later stages of Tuesday's game to help secure the Bears' their fifth league victory in seven contests.
In the end, Saechao's two goals in a three-minute span was enough to give the Bears the 2-0 thump over the Bulldogs.
“That's all it takes, just one player and you are one inch off center, or one second too late and there is a goal scored... you have to play sharp,” said Turlock coach Temo Arteaga. “It's the way soccer goes, you can't fall asleep for one second because you get scored on and it's part of the game.”
The Bulldog squad had only two seniors play for majority of the time, but they held their own against the top team in the Central California Conference.
Merced only got eight shots off compared to Turlock's 11.
But the number of shots nor possession didn't matter in the end as Merced took advantage of its opportunities.
Turlock still contained the ball for most of the game and Kishauna Mavis even saw multiple opportunities to score but goalkeeper Emma Lopez and the Merced defense were able to break down and clear away any attempt at the goal.
“They had two good chances in the second half, and they finished theirs, we had some chances but didn't take advantage of it,” said Arteaga. “But this is why you love soccer, it's why you hate soccer, just part of the game.”
Turlock fell to 4-2-1 in the CCC, with their only two losses in league have come at the hands of Merced.
“The girls know to always keep fighting. They took their chances and we tried to fight and play till the end but when it comes down to it, the score does not tell the truth, that was the case tonight,” said Arteaga.
Both sides ended with a scoreless first half after a really tight ball game that didn't see many opportunities.
Turlock struck six shots in the first half, five on goal but still couldn't find the back of the net.
“I think our girls weren't ready for it,” said Arteaga. “We were doing well till the final minutes.
When the clock reached the 73rd minute, Saechao made a 60-plus yard sprint from her team's end of the field to finally find a crease between Turlock keeper Jadyn Tubbs and hit the shot on the far end of the corner to make it 1-0.
Not even three minutes later, Saechao made a run to the opposite side and made an identical shot—but on the other side.
“We were off balance and caught off guard and she finished behind the net. They thought they had possession of the ball and went over their heads,” said Arteaga of the goals. “Merced's striker is really good and obviously you can tell how tough she is, scoring two goals by herself pretty much, she is smart and can finish.”
Turlock's next game will be at home against Golden Valley at 6 p.m. Thursday.