Mineola opens district with win

Posted 1/26/23

The Mineola Yellowjackets soccer side burst into district play with a 7-0 thumping of the Brownsboro Bears last Tuesday at Meredith Memorial Stadium.

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Mineola opens district with win


The Mineola Yellowjackets soccer side burst into district play with a 7-0 thumping of the Brownsboro Bears last Tuesday at Meredith Memorial Stadium.  

The Jackets needed just six minutes to open a two-goal lead. They did it by employing two specific facets of the game: persistence on the ball to win possession and striking immediately with vertical passing downfield.  

The target of this vertical attack is the green space between the nearest retreating defenseman and the area which a closing goalkeeper can cover to advance and intercept the vertical pass. 

This technique requires great teamwork and timing of the pass ahead (to keep the strikers on-sides), attacking pace to chase down the leading pass and the ability to finish.

The Jackets had all three aspects of play dialed in during the first half. This scheme accounted for the first three goals scored by the home side. 

On the first goal Jairo Mata took an excellently-weighted pass ahead from Fernel Ventura to put a low ball past the goalkeeper. The keeper had no time to react to the shot. 

Fernel and Mata combined on the second goal a minute later. Mata took the pass and played the shot over the top of the advancing goalkeeper.  

In the 17th minute of play, the Brownsboro goalkeeper got a piece of a Mata shot from about 20 meters out. The ball skidded past the keeper – Mata leapt over the top of the fallen goalkeeper and dispatched the ball into the net.

That attacking quickness also featured in the fourth goal in the 22nd minute. A Brownsboro defender booted a weak back-pass to his own goalkeeper. Mata outraced the defender who realized his mistake too late, nicked the ball back to the center of the field – avoiding the advancing keeper – and moved the ball to his right foot and slotted it home.  

Persistence on the ball, communications and quickness combined to create a whirlwind of scoring for the Jackets in the opening half. Mineola won at least two out of every three contested balls.

Defensively, the Jackets closed down attacks from the wing when needed, with Noah Turner sweeping clear any attacks up the middle of the field. Goalkeeper Adrian Rodriguez chalked up a half-dozen saves, including one great reaction on a rebound. 

In the 33rd minute, midfielder Marco Medina provided a season highlight with a rocket shot from 45 meters. It was as cleanly a hit ball as any long-range score in any league. The score sent the game to the half with Mineola leading 5-0.

The nature of the match changed, logically, in the second half, with much more action in the mid-field. Mineola kept the advantage throughout. The Jackets added two more goals late, one on a deflection, and another on a great pass ahead by Giovanni Campuzano.

The largest crowd to watch a Jackets match in the past three years witnessed an amazing start to the 2023 district campaign. 

After visiting Cumberland and hosting Athens, the Jackets travel to Athens Friday.