NORTHWEST GLENDALE — The Hoover High and Burroughs boys’ soccer teams traded plenty of scoring opportunities through most of their Pacific League opener.
Neither the Tornadoes or Indians could solve their opposing goalkeepers until Francisco Baez found an open lane in the closing moments of the 80-minute match.
Baez scored with seven minutes left to lift visiting Burroughs to a 1-0 win against Hoover on Tuesday afternoon.
Baez took a perfect pass from Nolberto Alcantar and beat Hoover reserve goalkeeper Argin Haghoubian with a 15-yard shot inside the left post to help the Indians improve to 2-5-1. Hoover fell to 1-3.
“I read [the pass] at the right time and I was able to score,” Baez said. “This was a game in which both teams played well.”
Hoover Coach Kevin Cadenas said Haghoubian, who normally is a midfielder/forward, got the start in net because starting goalkeeper Malek Azadegan was on vacation. Haghoubian finished with six saves, including four in the second half.
Unfortunately for the Tornadoes, they couldn’t reward the versatile Haghoubian.
“We had some chances on set plays, but we couldn’t convert,” Cadenas said. “We played well, but we got an unlucky bounce on their goal and [Baez] had a great finish.
“Whoever takes advantage of their opportunities and takes advantage of the other teams’ mistakes can win. This was a game that could have gone either way.”
Hoover controlled the territorial edge for the game’s first 12 minutes before Burroughs began to seize momentum. Romel Sarkisloo of Hoover launched a 20-yard shot just over the crossbar in the 11th minute before Jorge Cabrera was stopped point blank by Burroughs goalkeeper Elliott Whitecotton a minute later. Whitecotton finished with six saves, four in the second half.
Hoover’s two best second-half scoring opportunities came four minutes apart. In the 51st minute, Douglas Centeno’s shot sailed just wide of the left post. In the 55th minute, a direct kick by Sarkis Tumasyan was smothered by Whitecotton.
Burroughs Coach Mike Kodama said the Indians needed to remain patient until they could capitalize on a quality goal-scoring chance.
“We had to make sure the guys in the back were solid defensively and they were,” Kodama said. “Nolberto hit a pass to Francisco and we got the goal.
“Hoover played real hard.”