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Bardales Shines In Cougars Debut Versus "Stars Of Mexico"

November 9, 2009 - Professional Arena Soccer League (PASL) - California Cougars News Release

Stockton, CA - Nov. 8, 2009 - The third incarnation of Stockton's "Stars of Mexico" match was unlike its predecessors in several ways. First, it featured a tightly played match with a thrilling finish. The California Cougars held off Luis Hernandez and the "Stars of Mexico" 9-8 at Stockton Arena on Sunday night. Secondly, it featured the emergence of California's newest indoor star as Isaias Bardales scored four goals in his Professional Arena Soccer League debut.

Bardales, and fellow newcomer Ignacio Gutierrez teamed to put their new club on top 1-0 with a goal at the10:03 mark of the first. Bardales not only recorded California's first goal of the new season, but he also scored their eventual game-winner in the fourth with 8:16 remaining.

Hernandez brought most of the 2,997 in attendance to their feet when he scored his only goal of the match in the first quarter. His goal tied it up at 1-1 with 6:49 left in the opening frame.

California led for most of the game, but did fall behind once in the second quarter. Ivan Medina put the Stars up 3-2 with 10:33 remaining in the second quarter. However, the lead quickly disappeared when Ernesto Bueno scored off a pass from Enrique "Qeeks" Tovar with 8:35 left in the first half.

The Cougars rallied for four unanswered goals to enter halftime with a 7-3 lead. The rally saw Bardales net his second goal of the first half, and goals from Ato Leone, Uriel Robledo and Majell Aterado.

California's offense found a spark to close the first half, but sputtered in the early parts of the third quarter. It was former Cougars midfielder Eduardo Velez that took over for Mexico in the third quarter.

Velez rallied for three straight strikes to bring his team back within one of his old club at 7-6.

Brian Farber, the league's reining most valuable player, helped put an end to the Stars' comeback with an assist on Bardales' third goal of the match. The score put the Cougars up 8-6 with 1:40 remaining in the third quarter.

Vicente Figueroa brought the Stars back to a goal of California's lead with his late third quarter strike. Figueroa had one goal in the match. He is expected to re-sign with the Cougars early this week.

Late penalties proved costly for both teams. The Cougars were charged with 11 penalty minutes in the second half. The infractions included three blue cards and one yellow card. The Stars were charged with six second half penalty minutes, including one that led to a shootout.

Tovar failed to convert on the shootout opportunity, but Bardales immediately followed a minute later to put California on top for good. His fourth quarter strike at the 8:16 mark put the Cougars up 9-7.

Armando Teran and Velez teamed on the final goal for Mexico, but the Cougars left Stockton Arena with a 9-8 season opening exhibition victory.

The match was the first at Stockton Arena since the Cougars won the inaugural PASL-Pro championship on March 15, 2009.

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