PASADENA — No team so far this Pacific League boys’ soccer season has been able to hang a loss on Pasadena High, although Glendale came as close as anybody earlier this season when it tied the Bulldogs.
In the rematch, this time on the Bulldogs’ home pitch, Glendale fell into a two-goal hole early on and was never able to climb out. Pasadena won, 2-1, Monday afternoon to stay unbeaten in league and protect its spot on top of the Pacific League standings tied with Burroughs.
“The thing is we started very bad,” second-year Glendale coach Artur Aghasyan said. “We gave up two goals right away and it is very hard to come back against this team.”
Pasadena (13-0-3, 8-0-2), which scored two goals in the game’s first 10 minutes, allowing the home team to feel settled in and play with the advantage throughout, added three more points with Monday’s win and now has 26.
Glendale (10-7-3, 4-4-2) cut the deficit in half in the game’s 26th minute on a spectacular goal off the foot of Avo Haroutunyan.
“It was a monster goal,” Aghasyan said. “Nice, far post.”
The goal was made possible by the combination of give-and-go precision passing up the middle between the junior and Matthew Shafrazian, who recorded the assist.
“After we scored the goal the team started passing the ball more, more pressure, more high intensity. We looked like we were leading the game. The second half we just slowed down again,” Haroutunyan said. “I think we could have won this game, but I guess it happens. You win some, you lose some.”
The first Pasadena goal came in just the third minute of play off a corner kick by Scott Schwartz, who combined with twin brother Duncan throughout the game as a very effective sweeper/stopper combination. As the sophomore came forward from the back to take the corner kick, Pasadena Coach Cherif Zein could be heard calling out for him to “bend it in.” That is exactly what Schwartz did, bending it high around the near post and in for the game’s opening score.
“We made a mistake on the first goal [off] the corner. It was an unacceptable mistake,” Aghasyan said. “That was a team mistake, wrong [positioning]. The first post guy couldn’t get the ball.”
The Bulldogs struck again in the 10th minute for what turned out to be the eventual game-winner. Yezid Lopez got it started, beating a Nitro defender just ahead of the end line before laying a pass back on the ground. One Bulldog let the ball go by, allowing it to arrive on the feet of sophomore Brendan Hildreth, who hammered it home for the early 2-0 lead.
The second half was scoreless, with both teams generating a single strong scoring opportunity in the second 40 minutes. Glendale’s came with around 14 minutes to go when Haroutunyan broke through the Bulldogs back line for a clear, albeit brief, look at the goal. However, Scott Schwartz got back to boot the ball out before a shot could be taken.
“We were able to score a goal,” Aghasyan said. “But we were unable to score a second one and a third one. Pasadena is a good team.”