League play has begun and the defending Sac Joaquin Section champion Mustangs have picked up where they left off in 2014. Oakdale finished the preseason with an impressive 7-2-2 record and opened the regular season against Manteca and with a home game against Lathrop. The Mustangs put away Manteca 6-1 and followed up with a victory over the Spartans 6-0.
The Mustangs hit the road on Monday, Sept. 14 to open the season against the Buffaloes. Oakdale came out aggressive and scored on a strike from senior midfielder Michael Arauza in the first half. Manteca evened the score just before the break. Tied at the half, Oakdale came out and posted five goals in the second half to put away the Buffaloes.
“I think the boys were nervous to start the game, but took care of business in the second half. They passed the ball well and made good decisions in the second half,” said head coach Alfredo Quiroga.
Oakdale’s second half surge saw Winslow Barrales, Jake Burchell, Josh Barrera and Manuel Aguilar each score goals for the Mustangs. The Mustangs also had some assists in the game, as Barrales and Adriel Fernandez found open teammates to help the Mustangs earn a season opening victory. Sharing the duties between the posts were goalkeepers Jose Solis and Nathan Richardson. The duo combined for six saves in the game.
Oakdale played their home opener on Wednesday, Sept. 16 in front of a large crowd of Mustang faithful. Oakdale played host to the winless Lathrop Spartans. Thirteen minutes into the game, Oakdale’s Abe Jauregui broke a scoreless tie with a crowd pleasing goal that took a bounce in front of the Spartans goalkeeper and hit the top of net under the crossbar for a 1-0 Mustang advantage.
“That goal set the pace of the night. I am not sure that’s the way Abe intended the ball to go in, but it worked,” Quiroga commented of his senior forward’s unorthodox goal.
Moments later, the crowd was stunned when they witnessed a scary moment as Barrales landed awkwardly on his right shoulder and stayed on the turf clenching the shoulder in pain.
“Barrales separated his shoulder and broke his collarbone. He will likely miss the rest of the regular season but hopefully can return for the postseason,” Quiroga announced. “The loss of Winslow (Barrales) will have a major impact on our team. He is strong in every position; but it will be even harder to replace his characteristics.”
Much like they did in the Manteca game, the Mustangs put up five second half goals to pull away from the visitors. Fernandez, Collin Harrity, Omar Gutierrez, Zidane Saucedo and Zach Barnum all posted goals in the second half. Barnum also added two assists in the win. Richardson and Solis combined for four saves.
Oakdale (2-0) will be on the road for a pair of games next week. The Mustangs clashed with Sierra (2-0) on Monday, Sept. 21 after the Leader’s press time. Oakdale will travel to Weston Ranch (2-0) for a match today, Wednesday, Sept. 23.