Burroughs boys' soccer blasts past Anaheim, 4-2

BURBANK — First, the Burroughs High boys' soccer team had to come back, then it had to stave off an Anaheim rally.

But when all was settled, the Indians provided plenty of firepower to do both, as Burroughs defeated visiting Anaheim, 4-2, on Friday evening at Memorial Field in the first round of the CIF Southern Section Division III playoffs, propelled by two goals and an assist from Xavi Izqueta and a goal and an assist from Brandon Gerlach.

“Extremely [happy],” said Gerlach of the win. “We’re just gonna continue from here on out and continue to get better as a team.”

Burroughs (14-6-3), which won the Pacific League title, will now play Redlands East Valley or Norte Vista in Wednesday’s second round.

While Gerlach and Izqueta led the offensive attack to four consecutive goals, goalie Elliot Whitecotton came up clutch in the second half, as the Colonists mounted a furious rally. He finished with nine saves, seven of them coming in the second half against 13 Anaheim shots.

“They got a second wind,” Burroughs Coach Mike Kodama said of Anaheim. “They had to throw everything forward and they did.

“Elliott came up big for us in the second half.”

Anaheim (14-8-1), the Orange League’s third-place squad which defeated Beckman in a wild-card match on Wednesday, jumped out to a 1-0 lead with a goal in the 11th minute, but the Indians rallied — and then some.

“We started off a little slow,” Izqueta said. “We started touching on them a little bit and they started chasing. That’s how we play.”

As the Indians’ passing game blossomed and their up-tempo run of play began to take shape, Anaheim began to wane, but it was set pieces that ultimately turned the table.

“We just had to relax,” Kodama said. “We did very well on the set pieces and that turned the whole game.”

Burroughs tied the match in the 19th minute when Izqueta took a left-footed free kick from just outside the goal box and perfectly placed it to Gerlach, who headed the ball on a bounce into the net.

“We knew we had to stay calm and work the ball,” Gerlach said, “and that’s what we did.”

Four minutes later, Nolberto Alcantar scored the go-ahead tally when he drilled home a low shot off an excellent long throw from Gerlach.

The attack continued with an Anaheim defender having to clear a shot off the goalline and Izqueta notching a breakaway in which he dribbled around the keeper, but was indecisive about whether to shoot or pass to a teammate and the opportunity went awry.

“Next play I got a goal, though,” Izqueta said.

Indeed he did, as Izqueta headed in a corner kick from Brian Arzate in the 32nd minute for what would stand as the game-winner and a 3-1 lead.

Isqueta’s second goal, off a deep right-to-left cross from VJ Salazar, provided a three-goal cushion and what would end up as some needed insurance.

“It was big for us to counter and get that fourth goal,” said Kodama, whose team is now 4-0-1 over its last five games and 9-1-1 over its last 11.

Anaheim controlled the second-half play thereafter, cutting the lead in half on a penalty kick with 11 minutes remaining.

“We were struggling,” Izqueta said. “We shouldn’t be winning like that.”

But the Indians lived to play another day, advancing to the second round for the second season in a row.

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