BURBANK — The Burroughs High boys’ soccer team was searching for a performance that would help it turn around what was turning into a disappointing season.
The Indians might have found just such a situation in a Pacific League contest Tuesday against Glendale.
Burroughs played inspired soccer from the get-go, moving and passing the ball well, putting constant offensive pressure on the Nitros and dictating the tempo for most of the game. Those factors helped the Indians earn a 3-0 victory at Luther Burbank Middle School.
The Indians (4-7-2, 3-2-1 in league), who were mired in a tie for fourth place in league coming into the contest, are determined to keep in the running for a playoff spot after finishing in second a season ago.
“We hope a game like this will help us to that,” Burroughs Coach Mike Kodama said. “We have some talented guys, but like other Burroughs teams, we seem to struggle in the early part of the season. But we also tend to be a better second-half team, and hopefully we will continue to get better.”
Glendale (1-9-3. 0-3-2) and Coach Tulio Marroquin are probably hoping for the same kind of turnaround, despite fielding a young, inexperienced team this season. The coach has high hopes that his squad will be able to grow and become more competitive before the end of the season.
“We are just so young, and we have a lot of freshmen and sophomores playing right now,” he said. “It’s tough when you have a lot of young guys and you go against teams that have been playing together for two or three seasons.
“But the guys are really working hard and they are giving it everything that they can.”
Burroughs came out and dominated play in the first half. The team’s defense and midfield, spearheaded by Ozzie Castro, Kevin Garcia and Sergio Saenz, allowed the Nitros no shots on goal during the first 40 minutes. That made things easy for junior goalkeeper Elliott Whitecotton, who earned the shutout.
In contrast, Burroughs had 10 shots in the first half, with five coming from senior midfielder Francisco Baez
“I think we only had three or four shots on frame all game,” Marroquin said. “You just can’t win when you do that.”
Baez got the Indians on board in the 16th minute when he scored following a pass in front of the Glendale goal by Govanni Medina.
Lass than a minute later, Baez put Burroughs in front, 2-0, with his second goal of the afternoon.
Baez had two opportunities to tally the natural hat trick later in the half. In the 22nd minute, he delivered a hard shot that Glendale goalkeeper Ariz Yeghiazaryan stopped from going in with a nice save. In the 37th minute, Baez hit the near post with a header.
“I have to give a lot of credit to my teammates,” Baez said. “They did a great job at getting the ball to me.”
Senior forward Alex Avelar-Escalante did a solid job at distributing the ball throughout the contest.
With a 2-0 lead at the half, Burroughs struck again in the 51st minute when Jorman Herrera scored a goal on a nifty assist on a cross from Nolberto Alcantar.
The Nitros’ best chance to score came on a free kick from 25 yards out in the 48th minute, but the shot was easily stopped by Whitecotton.
Nitros Artur Nazarian and Ara Ghazarian also had shots on goal in the second half.
“This is a very important week for us,” said Kodama, whose team faces host Burbank at 3:30 p.m. Friday in a league showdown. “We feel if we can do well this week we can get right back into it.”