From one county to another, the bus mileage is racking up this week for the Glendale High boys’ soccer team thanks to a golden goal.
Junior midfielder Berj Ghazarian scored the second of his two goals about five minutes into overtime to deliver the Nitros a 3-2 victory at host Vista Murrieta of Riverside County in Tuesday afternoon’s wild-card round of the CIF Southern Section Division III playoffs.
With the victory, the Pacific League fourth-place Nitros (10-10-2), who roughly totaled 165 miles on the round trip, earned advancement into the divisional first round at Pacific Coast League champion Corona del Mar (14-3-4) of Newport Beach, about a 100-mile round trip, on Thursday at 3 p.m.
“It was exciting and this was a big game for us, we had to win,” Nitros Coach Artur Aghasyan said. “We won in the wild card last year and we wanted to do it again.”
Perhaps Ghazarian’s goal surprised the defense, as the halfback lofted a 37-yard goal with his right foot just inside the left post for the match-winner against the Broncos (8-10-6), the Southwest League’s third-place finisher.
“He had a guy guarding him, so maybe they didn’t see the shot or think he was going to take one,” Aghasyan said.
The goal was similar to a scoring strike from 30 yards out made by Ghazarian, which knotted the game at 1 midway through the first half.
Glendale never actually led the contest until the winning goal, as the Broncos scored in the first minute of the match to jump out to a 1-0 advantage.
After Ghazarian’s first goal tied the match at 1 at the half, Vista Murrieta again took the lead early in the second half before Glendale connected on the equalizer late.
Junior forward Avo Haroutunyan scored from 10 yards out in the 70th minute off an assist from Ghazarian to again tie the match at 2 before the contest eventually went into overtime.
“It was really a back-and-forth game,” Aghasyan said. “They’d score and then we would come right back and then they would score again and we got them to go into overtime.”
Glendale goalie Ervin Vartoomian finished with five saves.