BOARDMAN — Roberto Peralta left his impact on Riverside’s soccer match with Mac-Hi on Thursday from the moment of the first whistle. Peralta buried a shot in the back of the net in the game’s opening minutes for a 1-0 lead.
But no Pirate would visit the goal again.
“I knew they were going to come back, no doubt about it,” Mac-Hi coach Jose Garcia said of his players after giving up the early lead. “They’re smart. I wasn’t worried.”
Riverside (4-1-1, 4-0 SD4), which ran the table for an undefeated state championship season last year at the Class 3A/2A/1A level, couldn’t maintain its pressure Thursday that led to Peralta’s goal. With the role of the aggressor flipped, Mac-Hi took control and snatched the lead right back.
Moises Manon tied the game at 1-all with a goal early in the first half as Mac-Hi started to better maintain the possession and pass around the Pirates’ defenders.
“You don’t put pressure on them, they’re going to get you,” Riverside coach Carlos Velasco said.
Manon, a junior, was only starting his big day. He would add two more goals as Mac-Hi ran its lead to 3-0 just after halftime.
The midfielder said falling behind early jump started the Pioneers’ offense, especially since the team remembered the matchup against the the Pirates from last season. Riverside won that match 1-0, the closest the team came to defeat in 2011.
Mac-Hi started playing more as a team while chasing the lead, which led to Manon’s hat trick.
“The plays came from my teammates,” he said. “We all played the possession.”
In the match’s final 10 minutes, Gerardo Robles and Neftaly Cazarez would score again for the Pioneers to stretch the lead to its final point. Juan Martinez finished the match with two assists.
Garcia said he felt his team could have produced even better. Riverside was playing without two of its starters because of an injury and a previous game’s red card and Garcia said he would have liked to see the Pioneers take advantage of that more.
“It’s a win but we won’t know exactly (what this means) until we have some more good tests,” he said. “We didn’t play that well today. We tried too hard, forced a lot of passes and that forced mistakes.
“We put a lot of pressure on ourselves, which I like, but the players have to be more confident in themselves and we can do things a little bit better.”
For Riverside, the loss isn’t earth shattering. When the Pirates return to Special District 4 games in two weeks, they’ll still be undefeated and in first in the league. So in the grand scheme of a full season, Velasco said there are much worse losses.
“It’s good that it happened right now,” he said. “It’s a good chance to change. We can work on things, work on our passing and train with the whole team moving forward.”
The teams will meet again this year in the regular season’s last scheduled match on Oct. 30 in Milton-Freewater.
Contact AJ Mazzolini at firstname.lastname@example.org or 541-966-0839.