Burroughs soccer surges into first place

MEMORIAL FIELD — One goal meant quite a lot to the Burroughs High boys' soccer team Friday.

The Indians scored a goal 31 seconds into their Pacific League contest against Burbank and they made the goal stick in earning a 1-0 cross-town rivalry win at home.

However, Burroughs (8-5-2, 5-2 in league for 15 points) — which started the day in third place in league — found out just how important that one goal was when it got the results of two other key league matchups that also took place Friday. With Crescenta Valley (4-1-2 in league for 14 points) losing to Arcadia, 1-0, and Pasadena (4-2-1 in league for 13 points) falling to Muir, 5-2, the Indians moved into first place.

“I wasn’t sure if that goal was going to be enough,” Burroughs Coach Mike Kodama said. “But I have to give a lot of credit to Burbank. They worked hard the whole time and they were able to keep things close.”

Burroughs wasted little time putting the pressure on the Bulldogs (3-6-1, 1-4-2). On the opening whistle, the Indians had just two touches on the ball before it was left for Manny Cello. Cello dribbled the ball and from 30 yards out, let loose with a booming shot that sailed toward the Burbank goal. The ball carried over the head of goalkeeper Galust Galstyan and into the upper-left corner of the net.

Celio said he saw an opportunity and took a chance.

“Our coach told us to shoot early,” Celio said. “When I kicked it, I kept watching it and I didn’t know if it was going to go in. I thought the goalie might get a hand on it or something, but he didn’t.”

That was the only hardship experienced by Galstyan on the day, as he made a number of key saves to keep Burbank in the game. The senior ended with 12 saves.

One of those saves came in the ninth minute. Burroughs looked as if it was going to add to its lead when Brandon Gerlach dribbled through a host of defenders and had a prime opportunity as he moved in toward the goal. Gerlach let loose with a hard shot, but Galstyan was able to knock the ball away with a sliding save.

Although the Indians did have their share of scoring chances throughout the contest, Galstyan and the Burbank defense played well and snuffed all of the opportunities.

“I’m not happy with the loss, but I’m very happy with the way that we fought for the entire 80 minutes,” Burbank Coach Loi Phan said. “We have guys injured, guys playing different positions and we had guys cramping up. The guys were giving all that they got, and you can’t ask much more than that.

“Our guys could have easily given up when they scored that goal so early. But they shook it off and they continued to play.”

The Bulldogs’ best chance to score came in the 68th minute. Dennis Palacio got behind the Burroughs defense and he scrambled toward the Indians goal from about 10 yards out. However, the defender recovered in time and put just enough pressure on Palacio, who wasn’t able to direct the ball on net.

But both teams had scarce chances on Friday.

“It was difficult for us to get off good looks at the goal because their defenders were battling and working hard on defense,” Kodama said. “But we did also miss some of our opportunities.”

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