Before the season began, Sequoyah soccer head coach Manuel Orozco wasn’t even sure if the Chiefs would have the numbers to even field a team.
That is why seeing players like Gabriel Mora score the game-ending goal to beat Greenback 9-0 in less than 80 minutes on Thursday was a special moment for both Orozco and the team.
“That was really awesome,” Orozco said. “(Mora) is a player that has come a really long way from the beginning of the season. We started off with extremely low numbers and it was one of those situations where we didn’t have enough players. We weren’t going to have a team.
“Gabriel is one of those players that came out and worked hard. We’re super proud of him. That was the payout right there, scoring the goal and having his team cheer him on.”
Mora’s goal capped off a dominating second half performance by Sequoyah (9-1-1) and invoked the mercy rule to end the contest in the 71st minute.
It took less than 10 minutes for the Chiefs to get on the board, taking an early 1-0 lead at the 32:52 mark of the first half off of a Yoni Mora goal.
Sequoyah went on to score two more in the period, one from Jose Almanza in the 26th minute and another less than three minutes later off of the foot of Jonathan Cabrero to help the Chiefs go into the intermission with a 3-0 lead.
Orozco went with a different starting lineup in the first half, mostly because he felt his typical starters had become complacent as of late. The move paid off, with players like Yoni Mora making big contributions early.
“I thought that our first team was getting a little complacent,” Orozco said. “I felt like I needed to shake it up. Eventually, it will motivate players to start working for their position. No one is guaranteed a starting spot.
“It was really cool to see Yoni (Mora) and Gabriel (Mora) both score goals there.”
Greenback threatened to cut into Sequoyah’s 3-0 lead in the early going of the second half, but goalkeeper Alex Espinoza came up with a finger-tipping save to keep the Cherokees scoreless.
Daniel Leyva scored the first goal of the second period at the 24:41 mark to give the Chiefs a 4-0 lead.
The rout kicked in a little over 20 minutes into the half after a strong offensive series for Sequoyah as Ruben Ramirez, Leyva and Reymundo Lee all scored goals in less than three minutes of play.
After what Orozco viewed as a “flat” first half, he saw his team play with more intensity in the second and would like to see more of it with a daunting postseason slate looming.
“In the first half, there was a lack of intensity,” Orozco said. “At halftime, I got after them. Moving forward, we have to play with more intensity if we want to win big games.”
The Chiefs will play host to Red Bank on Tuesday, with kickoff set for 6 p.m.