BURBANK — Coming into Friday’s match in fifth and sixth place in the Pacific League, respectively, the Burbank High and Hoover boys’ soccer teams looked to turn around their fortunes.
Both teams’ coaches agreed they couldn’t let many more wins slip away if they wanted to keep their postseason hopes alive.
The Bulldogs dominated play for most of the match, getting more than three times as many shots on goal as the Tornadoes. However, it was Hoover which was able to take advantage of its handful of scoring opportunities to hand Burbank a 3-1 loss at home.
Hoover (3-4-1, 2-2-1 in league), which got a pair of goals from Argin Haghoubian, was outshot in the contest, 17-5.
“The league is really tight right now, so we have to try and get any points possible that we can get,” Hoover Coach Kevin Cadenas said. “Our goal is to hopefully get to the playoffs this year and we need to win games.”
For Burbank (2-3-2, 1-2-1) and Coach Loi Phan, they saw Friday’s loss as a missed opportunity for the team to climb back among the league’s contenders.
“I told our guys that it’s going to be tough now,” Phan said. “Each game that you don’t win or that you tie, the road is just going to get that much harder. I’m not saying that we can’t make the playoffs, because our goal is to make the playoffs, but this doesn’t help us.”
The Bulldogs had their chances to get on the board first in the opening minutes of the first half. The best opportunity came in the second minute when Ramon Cortes blasted a shot on goal. However, Hoover keeper Malek Azadegan came up to make the save.
Burbank continued to dictate play, with the Tornadoes getting few scoring chances early on. But Hoover was able to cash in on its first opportunity, as Artin Almary tallied a goal in the 10th minute, rolling the ball past sprawling Burbank keeper Ryan Tiegs.
After the Bulldogs again couldn’t capitalize on two prime chance in the 13th and 16th minutes, Hoover made good on a chance when Haghoubian blasted a shot in after the Burbank defense couldn’t clear the ball to take a 2-0 lead into halftime
“We had five chances and we made three,” Cadenas said. “I think the first half Burbank had more opportunities than us, but in the second half we made a few adjustments and it was a little more Hoover.”
Burbank dictated the tempo in the opening minutes of the second half and finally hit pay dirt in the 47th minute. After a corner kick from Enrique Meneses, the ball bounced off a few players and went to Dennis Palacio, who beat the keeper.
With the Tornadoes holding a 2-1 lead, the Bulldogs had a chance to tie the score in the 58th minute when Davyd Hacobian rifled a shot on goal. However, Azadegan stopped the shot with his body and smothered the offering.
Haghoubian tallied his second goal of the game in the 61st minute when he knocked in a header.
“I got ready for this game and I want to help my team any way that I can,” Haghoubian said. “If I need to score goals to help the team then I will do that.”
In the latter part of the second half, Burbank again came up with several scoring chances, but it couldn’t make good on any.
“We played hard and we kept battling; it’s not like we quit,” Phan said. “We just can’t fall asleep like we did in that first half and try and come alive when the other team scores.”