SOUTHEAST GLENDALE — Having Manny Celio and his playmaking skills back in the mix might be the spark that the Burroughs High boys' soccer team needs.
Celio missed the first seven matches of the season after suffering a broken collarbone in October. While he’s still shaking off the rust from the elongated layoff, Celio came back Friday to provided Burroughs with a much-needed victory.
Celio registered one goal and one assist in the second half to lead visiting Burroughs to a 2-1 win against Glendale in a Pacific League opener for both teams.
“It’s only my second game back from the injury, but it was just a matter of getting my timing back,” said Celio, who scored the winning goal on a direct kick in the 57th minute to give Burroughs (4-3-2) a 2-0 advantage. “We had a bunch of opportunities in the first half, but we couldn’t score.
“In the second half, I looked out for my teammates. It’s big to start league with a win.”
After both teams had some good scoring chances in the first half, the Indians began the second half spending most of the time in Glendale territory. Celio and Burroughs finally solved Glendale (5-4-1).
Celio made a nifty pass to Jorman Herrera, who beat Glendale goalkeeper Aris Yeghiazaryan to make it 1-0 in the 53rd minute.
The Indians continued to press the Nitros, who entered league after reaching the championship match of the La Cañada Tournament. Celio scored on a direct kick that bounced off the foot of a Glendale defender in a wall and eluded Yeghiazaryan to make it 2-0 in the 57th minute.
Glendale then took over control during the final 15 minutes. A 30-yard shot by Andre Andreasian caromed off the crossbar in the 65th minute.
Glendale cut the deficit to 2-1 on a goal by Albert Chamagua with about 10 minutes remaining.
“I thought we played well, but the result wasn’t good,” Glendale first-year Coach Artur Aghasyan said. “We just need to continue fixing our mistakes.
“I thought we had a lot of good scoring chances. We had a lot of free kicks. We just have to continuing to work on some things.”
Burroughs Coach Mike Kodama said his team received a stiff test from the Nitros.
“I thought they played real hard,” Kodama said. “They got that late goal and that showed a lot of character.
“We had to make sure we played the same way in the second half that we did in the first half. We anticipated that the scoring chances would come in the second half. That ball by Manny to Jorman was a brilliant play. He’s got that ability to be a playmaker and finish.”
Yeghiazaryan finished with seven saves, including five in the second half. Burroughs goalkeeper Elliot Whitecotton registered five saves.
Burroughs and Glendale will take part in league home games at 3:30 p.m. Monday. Burroughs will take on Hoover, while Glendale will meet Crescenta Valley, which has won three league championships in a row and won the CIF Southern Section Division IV title last season.