RENO -- As long as the Northern Nevada Aces keep playing Arizona teams, they shouldn't have any problem earning a playoff spot. According to owner and general manager Mo Mandegary, though, his team should get one anyway.
"The way we're playing right now, we feel we should make the playoffs," said Mandegary, who brought his team into the newly formed Men's Premier Soccer League. "The way the guys have been playing the last few games has been awesome."
Northern Nevada took one step closer to the playoffs with a 4-0 win over the Tucson Tiburons in front of 350 fans on Friday night at North Valleys High School. With the win, the Aces (2-4-3, 9 pts) took over fourth place in the MPSL standings. The Tiburons (2-5-1, 7 pts) dropped to fifth. The top four teams qualify for the playoffs.
Northern Nevada gave Tucson its worst loss of the season. The Aces tied the Tiburons last weekend in Tucson, Ariz. They also earned their first win of the season in Phoenix last weekend, 1-0 over the Arizona Sahuaros.
In the 22nd minute, Baldo Bobadilla scored the Aces first goal after beating several defenders, then slotting a shot to the far post. Less than 10 minutes later, Bobadilla scored his second goal after beating a Tucson defender with a nifty move inside the box.
The Tiburons nearly got a goal back in the 55th minute, but Aces' goalie Jeff Wallace made a superb diving save following Ivan Lerma's shot that was headed to the far post. Northern Nevada put the game away in the 73rd minute following Miguel Cacho's cross that found the head of Rafael Loera, who headed home the team's third goal.
In the 82nd minute, Kevin Bartell made it 4-0 after some lazy defending by Tucson. Northern Nevada's next home game is Saturday against the Las Vegas Strikers, a team it has already tied twice this season.
"The last three or four years it has taken us several games to start playing well," Mandegary said. "The cold weather or something. Now it's warmer out and the players are finally fit. I think we're just going to get better and better."
Tucson plays first-place Chico tonight in Chico, Calif.