NORTHWEST GLENDALE — About the only thing that went right for the Glendale High boys’ soccer team in its Pacific League regular-season finale at Hoover on Thursday happened six miles away in Burbank.
The Nitros were outplayed in a 1-0 loss to a Tornadoes squad that had nothing more to play for than spoiling its rival’s playoff hopes.
And, in the end, the only thing that salvaged those hopes for Glendale was a rally by Burroughs to get past its own rival, Burbank, 3-2, at Burroughs on Tuesday afternoon.
Glendale and Burbank remain tied for fourth place in league and will battle it out head-to-head today at 3 p.m. at Crescenta Valley High for the last available playoff berth.
“It’s there for us to take it, we just need to put it together at this point, and it’s gonna come down to whether the guys want it or not,” Glendale Coach Tulio Marroquin said. “We’ll give it everything we have — I know [the Bulldogs] are gonna give it everything they have — and I think if we play the way we can play and come with intensity, we should be OK.”
For whatever reason, that rallying cry has failed to light a fire under the Nitros over their last two games, as they fell out of league title contention with a tie against Arcadia on Tuesday before tempting fate with Thursday’s loss against a Tornadoes team that finished seventh in league.
Glendale (7-6-11, 4-3-7 in league) was only burned once by Hoover, when goalkeeper Osvaldo Florez laid out to make a save on a free kick by Hoover’s Sero Gharibian, leaving the net open for Rene Morataya’s goal on the rebound.
But throughout the match, the Nitros mistimed passes, came up short on runs and were denied key balls in the midfield.
With every opportunity missed down the stretch, there was bickering among the team and barking at the referees in a rivalry game that took on an ever more physical tone in the second half.
“[Hoover] played like it actually had something to play for, but we just never got any opportunities,” Marroquin said. Part of me thinks that [the Nitros] are maybe not used to [big-game situations] and they need to get used to it because we need to be consistent as far as thinking we’re going to win every game.”
The Tornadoes (5-12, 4-10) held strong in the final 20 minutes, a span which saw the Nitros lodge their first shot on goal, but also saw Glendale co-captain Artin Anderiasian banished to the bench for the final 10 minutes with a soft red card.
“We just wanted to end up the season playing our best,” Hoover Coach Charles Martinez said. “Even if some other school was our opponent, no matter what, I told them we’ve got to do better to in order to get some confidence and believe in our program.
“We sent a message to [Glendale] that we’re not easy.”