Nitros suffer first loss of season

BURBANK — The good news for the Glendale High boys’ soccer team is that there’s still plenty of time to work out the kinks and get everyone on the same page before Pacific League play begins in earnest in January.

In the meantime, however, the Nitros are a bit of a work in progress, as they try to successfully blend their talents and find their way under first-year Coach Tulio Marroquin.

In a Group Seven pool-play match of the 2008 Ralph Brandt Boys’ Soccer Tournament on Saturday night at Burroughs High, Glendale was caught out of place defensively on some key scoring plays and seemed out of sync at times on offense, losing, 4-0, to El Camino Real.

“It’s just trying to find the right combination,” said Marroquin, whose team opened its season with a 2-2 tie against Alemany in pool play on Thursday. “Right now I’m trying everybody out in different rotations to see who fits where, but overall, we’re OK — the score looked a lot worse than it is.

“I’m not disappointed, because they’re actually working toward it and I think that eventually we’ll get to what we need, and El Camino’s actually a very good team.”

The Conquistadors (2-0-1) scored their first goal in the 20th minute on a quick cross from Casey Sansevieri to Manny Munguia in the middle on a play originating from a corner kick.

Munguia popped in a goal from about 15 feet outside of the goal box for the early advantage.

A defensive breakdown on a set play just seconds before the end of the first half led to a 2-0 halftime deficit for Glendale (0-1-1).

Sansevieri lined up a free kick from just inside the halfway line that sailed over the Nitros’ entire back line of defense and straight to Bryant Parada, who beat Glendale goalkeeper Guillermo Calderon one on one for a goal.

“On the first [goal], it was just simple clearing but [everyone’s] expecting someone else to do it,” Marroquin said. “It’s just a mental breakdown.

“The second one, it was a clear run, our defense just kind of stood in line and nobody reacted. Mentally, they just broke down expecting the flag to go up, but it happens sometimes.”

Glendale took seven shots while playing from behind in the second half, all by senior forward Haykaz Sargsyan, and just one on goal.

In the 56th minute, a penalty set up a direct kick for Sargsyan, but it was smothered by El Camino goalkeeper Ben Drucker.

In a two-minute span midway through the second half, the Conquistadors squelched any thought of a Nitros comeback with goals by Sansevieri and Ericson Penate in the 63rd and 65th minutes, respectively.

Osvaldo Florez started in goal in the second half for the Nitros and registered two sharp saves on undefended close-range shots.

“They’re working hard and some guys are really pushing because they want playing time,” Marroquin said. “Mainly, that’s what I’m looking for, guys who are gonna work throughout, who are gonna give us a good chance during [league].”


 GABRIEL RIZK covers sports. He can be reached at (818) 637-3226 or at gabriel.rizk@latimes.com.

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