Newport Harbor boys’ soccer starts fast again in Sunset League

Newport Harbor High’s start to the Sunset League boys’ soccer season is looking a lot like the one last season. The Sailors are winning every time they play.

This season, the Sailors have a couple of new faces in Angel Ariza and Tyler Beatag. The transfers from JSerra have only been playing with Newport Harbor for eight days, but the duo has made a difference.

Ariza influenced Wednesday’s match at Fountain Valley right away, heading in a goal in the first minute. Beatag, a center back, helped the Sailors blank their second league opponent in three matches.

The two juniors led the way to Newport Harbor’s 2-0 win. The Sailors have won their first three games in league.

In a battle of two first-place teams, the Sailors stayed atop the league with defending champion Edison. The Chargers, ranked No. 8 in the CIF Southern Section Division 1 poll, have also won their first three in league.

Newport Harbor will have another first-place showdown on the road when it plays at Edison on Friday 5 p.m. A year ago, the Sailors won their fourth game in league at Edison. They will try duplicating last season’s success.

It’s only three games, so you know as well as I do that the bottom can drop out at any moment. We’re just trying to do our jobs.

Newport Harbor coach Ali Khosroshahin

If there’s a coach who knows what it takes to go perfect again in the first half of league, it’s Ali Khosroshahin. He led the Sailors last season, his first at the school.

There’s a difference between his current team and the one from 2016-17, which he led to the CIF Southern Section Division 3 playoffs.

“I think we’re more balanced this year,” Khosroshahin said. “It’s only three games, so you know as well as I do that the bottom can drop out at any moment. We’re just trying to do our jobs.”

The Sailors performed at the start of the first and second halves against Fountain Valley.

After Alvin Mancilla set up the first goal 50 seconds in, his corner kick four minutes into the second half allowed Miguel Sanchez to score. Sanchez, a senior, scored off a rebound, finishing toward the upper-right corner of the net.

The quick goals showed Khosroshahin that his players were focused. Beatag said there were distractions near Newport Harbor’s bench as track and field athletes sprinted on the track, but he and the Sailors ignored them.

Fountain Valley’s soccer team found itself chasing the game, and against Newport Harbor’s back line of Beatag, Dan Suzuki, Jimmy Castillo and Dane Newton, that was too much to ask for.

The Barons (6-7-1, 2-1-0 in league) had chances to get back in it, but Newport Harbor goalkeeper Emilio Carbajal, another transfer, stood in the way. Carbajal, who came from Mater Dei, stopped Ethan Mack as he attacked from the right side in the 66th minute. Carbajal knocked the ball out of play, setting up a corner kick, but nothing came of it.

The best scoring chance for the Barons came in the 24th minute, right after the Sailors took Tyler Le down in the box. The referee awarded Le a penalty kick, and he took it, only to see his shot go wide right.

“He looks like he was kind of banged up a little bit. I was surprised he ended up taking it because he was on the ground after the foul,” Fountain Valley coach Jason Smith said of Le, adding that his sophomore missed most of the second half with an ankle injury. “But … the best of the players could miss that. I’m more than happy with his choice to take it. I mean, he’s got 10 goals on the season.”

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