LA CRESCENTA — About 20 minutes before the Burroughs High boys’ soccer team took the field for a pool-play match against Royal in the Crescenta Valley Winter Classic, a fierce wind began to blow.
To make things a bit more difficult for the Indians, they had to face going against the wind in the first half.
Turns out it didn’t prove to be a problem for Burroughs, as Manny Gonzalez and Esteban Alcantar led the charge for the surging Indians.
Gonzalez finished with two goals and Alcantar added one goal and two assists Thursday to propel Burroughs to a 4-1 victory at Crescenta Valley High.
Burroughs (7-2-2) will wrap up pool-play at 9 a.m. Friday against Valencia Valencia. A victory or tie Friday by the Indians would put them in the tournament’s championship match at 3 p.m. Saturday.
Burroughs received goals two minutes apart from Gonzalez and Elias Galaviz just before the midway juncture of the first half.
“It was kind of crazy before the game when the wind started to blow,” said Burroughs coach Mike Kodama, whose team began the tournament Wednesday with a 1-0 win against Sylmar. “We had to adjust to that and I’m very pleased with they way we did that.
“In that situation, we had to find ways to keep the ball on the ground, move quick and attack. Then we got those two goals.”
Gonzalez, a reigning All-Area selection, gave the Indians a 1-0 lead in the 15th minute. Gonzalez took a pass from Manny Pascual and beat Royal goalkeeper Jack Gourley. (seven saves)
Burroughs, which finished second in the Pacific League last season, extended the lead to 2-0 on a goal by Galaviz off an assist from Alcantar in the 17th minute.
“I think we have a team that’s definitely getting better, starting at the backline,” Alcantar said. “We are good at the counter-attacks and that sets us up on offense.
“We still have some things to fix, but I think we are getting much better each game.”
Gonzalez a sophomore forward, gave the Indians a 3-0 lead in the 47th minute with Alcantar earning the assist.
“I’ve been getting a lot of support from my teammates,” Gonzalez said. “Even if I miss a shot, my teammates are coming back to me and giving me encouragement.
“I think it was big to get those two early goals. It takes the pressure off our players and you put yourself in a better position to succeed.”
Royal (7-8) trimmed the deficit to 3-1 on a goal by Dat Nguyen in the 70th minute.
Alcantar wrapped up the scoring in the 76th minute off a pass from Juan Carlos Rosales.
Burroughs senior goalkeeper Alfredo Tejeda finished with seven saves, including five in the second half. Tejeda made diving saves a minute apart on shots by Travis Albin and Nguyen.
“Alfredo made some big saves for us,” Kodama said. “When you get goaltending like that, to go along with a solid defensive effort across the board, lots of good things can happen.”