BURBANK — Shortly after the final whistle was blown, the usually subdued Mike Kodama took out his frustrations on a water bottle on the sideline.
The veteran coach of the Burroughs High boys' soccer team was echoing the disappointment and frustration that his players experienced as they walked off the field Thursday.
The coach had just witnessed an upset in the first round of the CIF Southern Section Division III playoffs, and it came at the expense of his Indians. Katella from Anaheim, a team that earned a wild-card berth into the postseason, scored a goal in the first half and made it stand in notching a 1-0 victory against host Burroughs at Memorial Field.
The loss comes one year removed from a quarterfinal run for Burroughs last season. With a host of returning players, including three All-CIF athletes, the Indians (15-4-5) were hoping for another successful postseason run. Burroughs catapulted into the playoffs after capturing its second straight Pacific League championship.
However, against the Knights (14-5-3), the No. 3 team from the Orange League, the Indians entered the match with a group of players either injured or ill.
"The guys' effort was fine today and I was very proud of their effort," said Kodama, who has won nine league titles at the Burroughs helm. "The ball just didn't go in. The guys are sick and they're beat up and the fact that they even came out to play was a testament to them."
Burroughs added to its woes when midfielder Marcos Arana suffered a leg injury in the 13th minute and didn't return.
With a patchwork squad, the Indians fell behind in the first half and battled to make things happen in the second. Burroughs had its share of scoring chances in the final 40 minutes, but the team hit two crossbars and a post and couldn't account for the equalizer.
"Two crossbars and a post, that's the story right there," Kodama said.
It was a shaky start for the Indians, as they had few legitimate offensive opportunities in the first half. Katella, on the other hand, had multiple chances in the first half, but came up empty as well.
That changed in the 36th minute when Jose Troncoso scored the only goal of the contest on a free kick from 25 yards out. The ball took a wicked angle and seemed to catch Burroughs goalkeeper Alberto Meir off-guard.
"The wall was set up by the near post and the goalie was right behind it," said Troncoso, whose team defeated Yorba Linda, 3-1, in a wild-card contest Tuesday. "I was just trying to get the ball inside the other post as best as I could. It turned out to be a golden goal, so we'll take it."
Said Kodama: "It was a phenomenal shot. They had their one good chance and they took advantage of it. It was just a great shot."
Trailing, 1-0, at the half, the Indians attacked the Katella half with a greater veracity in the second half. A prime chance came in the 56th minute when Knights goalkeeper Isaac Martinez was called for a yellow card for a hand-ball outside the box. With backup keeper Jamie Villalpando in place, Burroughs set up for the kick just inside the arc at the top of the penalty area. Nolberto Alcantar took the shot from 20 yards out, but the ball was blocked in the field and cleared away.
In the second half, Brandon Gerlach had a shot bank off the far post in the 52nd minute, had another go off the crossbar in the 74th minute and Alcantar had a shot go off the crossbar in the 79th minute.
Burroughs was kept in the game in the second half my Meir (nine saves), who made two solid sliding saves to keep Katella from adding to its lead.
"Alberto has played that way all year," Kodama said. "He has kept us in a lot of games like that."