Burroughs High School soccer player #10 Esteban Alcantar battles for the ball with #10 Andy Cardenas in home game vs. Burbank High School, in Burbank ln Friday, Jan. 11, 2019.(Raul Roa / Staff Photographer)
BURBANK — Calm and composed, the Burroughs High boys’ soccer team enjoyed a lot of possession around the Burbank penalty area for much of their Pacific League match Friday.
The Indians controlled the tempo and pace of the match, so much so that the Bulldogs failed to string two passes together for much of the game.
With the possession advantage, and behind sophomore Manny Gonzalez’s two goals, Burroughs comfortably defeated Burbank, 4-1, at Memorial Field.
“We played well,” said Burroughs coach Mike Kodama, whose team remains in first place in league. “We knew that we’d have to be patient and the guys played well and moved the ball very well. We just needed to keep our composure and limit all the opportunities that Burbank had.”
The Indians (10-2-5, 6-0-2 in league) didn’t allow a Bulldogs shot until the 69th minute of play when Burbank midfielder Nick Diaz hit a soft strike on goal toward Burroughs goalkeeper Alfredo Tejada.
Burbank (4-5-1, 3-4-1) struggled to maintain possession in the first half and had two good opportunities on through balls, but Tejada made the run outside the box to clear each chance.
Every time the Indians lost the ball, their pressure would routinely overwhelm the Burbank player, who’d give the ball right back to a Burroughs midfielder.
“I think the big play was Manny Gonzalez in the first half,” said Kodama on his side’s possession. “When you have your forward running the length of the field to defend, that says something about the entire team. He does that and David Gerlach does that up top, so our defense starts straight from our forwards and their work rate.”
Burroughs earned a corner in the first minute of play that saw its chanced cleared, only to grab another corner four minutes later that saw a header from Juan Carlos Rosales hit wide.
The Indians maintained much of their possession around the Bulldogs’ penalty area and ultimately broke through the defense in the 12th minute after Gerlach, a junior, struck the ball toward the opposite post for a 1-0 lead.
“Our defensive energy every game is very consistent,” Gonzalez said. “It transfers over to [the offense] and the reason why we’ve been able to get all these wins [is because] we translate this energy from defense to offense.”
Burroughs tried for the next 20 minutes to find its second score before Gonzalez hit the ball from outside the box in the 36th minute for the 2-0 lead right before halftime.
“They were playing with four center-backs, so it was hard to penetrate down the middle,” Gonzalez said. “[The plan] was pretty much get the ball down the middle, get it out [wide], have them open up and see what goes from there.
“We found a couple of openings and put a couple of goals away, so that’s how it pretty much went.”
The Burroughs pressure continued three minutes into the second half as sophomore winger Elias Galaviz made a run in the box and attempted a cross, only to have Burbank defender Abraham Rivera nick it into the back of his own net to give the Indians a 3-0 lead.
Still, with a three-goal lead, the Indians made run after run in the Bulldogs third and posted six shots in a span of 14 minutes, four of which were saved by Burbank goalkeeper Christian Ramos.
Ramos finished with five saves, four in the second half, and the Indians tallied nine shots.
“We got outplayed,” Burbank coach Loi Phan said. “That’s fine. Burroughs is a good team. We’re young. We’re not ready for them. We got outplayed and that’s pretty much it; bottom line, from the whistle to the end.
“I told my guys it was a good scrimmage for them. That’s the best way of putting it.”
Gonzalez completed his brace in the 71st minute when Burbank failed to clear a cross from Rosales. The sophomore took a few steps before taking the shot for the 4-0 lead.
Burbank earned a free kick deep in stoppage time that Burroughs cleared for a corner, which led to the Bulldogs’ lone goal from a header courtesy of senior Andy Cardenas.
“I told my guys since day one that if you’re not going to win the ball, it doesn’t matter what you do,” Phan said. “I think we won one ball. And I said to them if I give everyone a dollar for winning the ball, I think I’m out a buck.
“But for the other team, every time they win the ball and you guys give me a quarter, I’d be a rich man today.”