The teams played to a 1-1 tie, with both finding plenty of opportunities to break away and get close to the goal, but both also running up against quick and stubborn defenses that denied most chances for clear shots.
It was the first game of the season for West, and Tracy’s first game after a weekend of tournament play in Marin County.
Tracy got its first break 21 minutes into the first half when Max Garrigan took a corner kick. West’s defense knocked it away but drew a penalty, which gave the Bulldogs a free kick. The shot was deflected again, but this time Tracy’s Orlando Michel was positioned to knock the ball into the right side of the net.
He said it was a quick play that came together after the ball bounced off a West player in front of the goal.
“West is a pretty good team, and they were a challenge this year,” he said. “Hopefully, we’ll play them again in the playoffs.”
Tracy held onto its lead until 27 minutes into the second half, when West broke through the midfield and the Wolf Pack’s Bryan Burnham brought the ball up.
He saw Jovany Suarez headed toward the goal on the left side of the field just ahead of Tracy’s defenders, passed the ball and gave Suarez a clear shot toward the right side of the net.
“I made the run, I got a through ball, saw the goalie come out and placed it,” Suarez said.
Players from both teams had to rely on quick and accurate passing to move across the field, and usually ran up against a crowd of defenders in front of the goal before finding a chance to take a shot.
Goalkeepers Omar Cardenas and Angel Perez-Diaz of Tracy and Emmanuel Diaz of West did their part to keep it a low-scoring game, with West’s Diaz blocking a shot near the end as the Bulldogs made another push at the goal, managing one more clear shot with the clock running down.
In the freshman/sophomore contest, Tracy broke a 2-2 tie at the end with a penalty kick and took a 3-2 win.
The Bulldogs scored first with a goal from Juan Valdez early in the first half.
West’s Jason Reading tied it up with a goal about 20 minutes in.
Tracy’s Matt Murman scored again at the start of the second half, and West tied it up about 15 minutes into the second half.
A foul called on West in the penalty box gave Valdez a clear penalty shot on goal toward the end of the second half.