GLENDALE — Though perhaps both teams’ coaches downplayed the teams’ rivalry, Glendale High and Hoover met on Friday at Hoover High with the end result, rivalry or not, producing key points for the Nitros and a key effort for the Tornadoes.
The Nitros prevailed on Hoover’s homefield, 2-1, on Friday afternoon to stay in fourth place in the league standings with 13 points.
Glendale (10-5-2, 4-2-1) scored both of its goals in the first half, getting on the scoreboard five minutes into the contest and the second one, and what would prove to be the game-winner, shortly before time elapsed in the first half.
Hoover (4-9, 1-6) controlled the pace of the game in the second half, but managed one goal at the 76-minute mark.
“They were different halves,” Nitros Coach Arthur Aghasyan said. “We were controlling the game in the first half and had chances to finish. In the second half, I played my younger guys to see them get in there and play.”
Despite the loss, Tornadoes Coach Basile Pagourtzis was pleased with his team’s effort.
“I’m proud of my guys,” he said. “This was one of the best games they’ve played all year. We made a couple mistakes, but we played a good game and deserve better.
“We also played a good opponent.”
Glendale’s senior forward Menua Nazarian broke the scoreless tie five minutes into the match, as he was able to penetrate the Tornadoes defense and get a ball past Hoover’s keeper.
“I was going to pass, but I saw a defender going forward,” said Nazarian about his goal. “I was going to shoot with my left leg, but the goalie read it, so I faked and he moved to the left and I came to my right.”
At the 20-minute mark, Glendale’s Avo Haroutunyan sent the ball to the front of the net to Levon Petrosyan, but he was not able to put a foot on it and the ball rolled out of bounds.
Haroutunyan did set up Ferni Martinez’ goal, however, after dribbling around the Tornadoes’ defenders and leaving the ball for Martinez while shielding to give the midfielder a good look at the back of the net.
Minutes into the second half, the Nitros had a golden opportunity at a third goal and a seemingly insurmountable three-goal cushion when Haroutunyan was taken down in the penalty box while going for a cross. His penalty kick was saved, however, and resulted in a more aggressive Tornadoes attack.
Avet Kurazyan capitalized in the waning stages of the match, shortly after Glendale’s keeper Arman Sargsyan left the match with an injury and was replaced by Ervin Vartoomian.
The goal sparked newfound life into the Tornadoes, but it proved to be too little and too late, as Glendale staved off the last-ditch effort and came out victorious.
“I didn’t want to put it inside us that it’s a rivalry,” Aghasyan said. “You lose concentration and play a different way when you bring up a rivalry. We have our style and we want to play how we know how, not with the match’s tempo.”
Glendale will next take on Crescenta Valley on Tuesday in a match Aghasyan called critical if the team wants to advance in the league standings.
“We could have played way better, and scored more goals,” Nazarian said. “We’ll do better against CV.”