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Burroughs, Crescenta Valley boys' soccer spring into action

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BURBANK — The top two teams in the Pacific League last season met Saturday night for spring soccer, long ways away from battling again for the league title in the 2018-2019 season.

Burroughs High’s boys’ soccer team defeated visiting Crescenta Valley, 2-0, but neither coach was concerned about the result as much as fielding next season’s varsity players.

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“We’re just getting started,” said Burroughs coach Mike Kodama, whose team finished 15-9-1 and 9-4 in league, placing second behind Crescenta Valley. “We’re looking at what we have, where we’re at. Not much to it yet.”

Kodama sat his starters for the entirety of the second half after reigning All-Area selection Manny Gonzalez gave the Indians a pair of goals in the first — one in the beginning stages and the other in the 29th minute.

Gonzalez got the scoring started when he secured a deep ball, beat one defender and gave himself space to get an open look. His second goal saw him beat two defenders to the ball before a shot from the left post.

As a freshman, Gonzalez earned All-Pacific League first-team honors, along with junior Esteban Alcantar and sophomore Carlos Rosales.

“The returning players, we want to get them back in the swing of things, and the new ones we want to integrate,” Kodama said.

The Falcons, who beat the Indians in both meetings last season, struggled to find a rhythm on offense in the first half, unable to consistently control the ball and allowing Burroughs more time of possession.

The offense improved in the second half, but shots on goal were still at a minimum. A good ball from Sepehr Parvardeh in the 61st minute led Alejandro Vela, who couldn’t quite control the ball to get a clean look.

A corner six minutes later saw a similar fate.

Falcons Coach Grant Clark doesn’t mind being shut out nor the lack of shots as much as he wants to see progress from the young squad.

“I want to see who can step in to a roster at the varsity level,” said Clark, who lost 14 players to graduation from last season’s Pacific League champion. “Individual skill on the ball and how they work with teammates. I’m not really concerned about the result.”

Clark made substitutions throughout, sometimes putting in five to seven players at a time. He added that he’s looking to see which players “put in 80 minutes of work — bench guys paying attention and the ones on the field focused.”

Clark used a different goalkeeper each half, with Arin Sipan getting the start and Nick Shabandarian playing the second half. Sipan faced a stronger attack, while Shabandarian was able to get in position for a nice save in the 73rd minute.

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