NORTHEAST GLENDALE — It was just the first game of the campaign, but in terms of scoring production, the Flintridge Prep boys' soccer team was in midseason form on Tuesday against Grace Brethren.
The Rebels got two goals apiece from Manny Martinez and Cole Rademacher and turned a one-goal halftime lead into a 5-2 nonleague win behind a second-half shutout at the Glendale Sports Complex.
“Since last year we’ve been close as a team and it’s carried on to this year,” Martinez said. “I think we’re pretty much ahead of the schedule for now.”
The two teams traded second-chance goals to open the match, with Prep’s Henry Griffith scoring four minutes in on a rebound of Rademacher’s shot that was deflected. Twelve minutes later, Grace Brethren evened the score when Dallas Marvin took a run up the middle and unleashed a shot that Rebels goalkeeper Clayton Weirick was able to save, only to see Scott Burkholder crash the box for an open follow.
But the Rebels answered with two more goals over the next 10 minutes, beginning with Martinez’ quick stop on a run into the penalty box off a long pass from Tim Bates to set up a 21st minute goal. Then, at the 24-minute mark, the Rebels used some crisp passing to set up their third goal. Martinez started the chain with a cross to Daniel Enzminger, whose extra pass back to Rademacher opened up an easy look on the exposed goal.
The opening half ended on a downer for Prep, which fouled Jonathan Cohen while he was on the attack in the penalty box, leading to a successful penalty kick in the 33rd minute that cut the lead to 3-2.
But the second half was all Prep, beginning with Martinez’ second goal of the match just six minutes into the half on an assist from Bates once again. Just five minutes after that, Rademacher put Prep firmly in control when he gained control of a loose ball amid a scrum in the goal box and blasted it home.
Prep also had other opportunities to further put the game out of reach, including back-to-back shots by Martinez and Rademacher on goal during a bang-bang sequence near the goal mouth with 10 minutes left and a close-range header by Ari Baranian seven minutes later that sailed just over the crossbar. But Grace Brethren was held to just two shots on goal in the second half, both of which were stopped by Weirick (four saves).
“We focused more on defense [in the second half] and tried to keep it together so their team couldn’t score,” Martinez said. “We put more pressure on their offense.”
Prep Coach Mathew Bowden had mixed reviews on the team’s debut.
“It’s our first game and we’ve only had like four practices, so it’s a little bit rusty and there’s a lot of things we need to improve on, but on the whole it was good,” Bowden said. “We looked dangerous in attack, we could have scored a few more goals. ... Second half was good and it’s a very early stage.”