By Matthew Snyder
Mercy head girls soccer coach Walter Cortez expects his team to employ a fluid and incisive style of passing during games, instead of simply kicking the ball and running to it.
So even though the Skippers jumped out to a 5-0 halftime lead against a severely undermanned Latino Prep team in a West Bay Athletic League Skyline Division matchup on Thursday at the Crocker Amazon Soccer Fields, Cortez wasn’t satisfied until Mercy displayed improved passing and more assured possession en route to a 7-0 rout over the Golden Eagles.
Latino (0-6-1, 0-4-0), which traveled from San Jose, arrived to the game 25 minutes late and fielded just nine players – the survivors after a mixture of academic ineligibility and quitting. The two coaches agreed to play two 30-minute halves before the game, cutting 20 minutes off regulation time.
“We were pumped up and ready and then all of a sudden they don’t show up, and you start worrying, and it’s ridiculous that they’re not here,” said Mercy midfielder Brenda Recinos. “It’s tough to stay focused.”
Mercy (4-5-2, 3-3-1) suffered no ill effects due to the extended warm-up and blitzed the lackluster Golden Eagles from the opening kickoff. Mercy junior forward Lizet Martinez opened the scoring in the third minute with her fourth goal in four games.
Fernanda Delgadillo, Kerry Solan, Asia Flores and Recinos followed Martinez onto the score sheet with a series of excellent individual goals. The Golden Eagles did not pass the midfield line until the 20th minute, and when they did, Solan punished them by immediately winning possession and weaving through the defense before scoring. Mercy tallied 27 shots on target in the first half.
“I felt like it was kind of sloppy, even though we were winning,” Recinos said. “This game was kind of a practice because we have tougher teams in our league and we wanted to make the game look pretty instead of just scoring.”
Cortez said he has emphasized an attacking approach steeped in stringing passes together and working the ball from side to side, and he expressed surprise that his starters largely failed to adhere to that plan.
“I wanted them to control the ball, swing the ball around and keep passing — give-and-go — and they weren’t doing that,” Cortez said. “In the second half, we did better and we [eased up] on the scoring. [Latino] only had nine players, so we don’t want to run up the score.”
Crystal Miranda added a goal in the 52nd minute to push the lead to 6-0 and defender Kalei Raher followed suit four minutes later with a surging run that began just beyond midfield. The junior swept through the Golden Eagles’ defense before she dispatched a tidy finish into the left side of the net to round off the scoring.