LA CRESCENTA — Pass after pass, chance after chance, run after run, the Crescenta Valley boys’ soccer team had it all in the opening 20 minutes of its Division III first-round playoff match against Brea Olinda.
Although the Falcons were successful in gaining possession, many of their chances and passes looked forced, as if the opportunities weren’t coming naturally.
Then, an abrupt goal for Brea Olinda in the 27th minute changed the Crescenta Valley mindset to push harder for the equalizer.
But the efforts weren’t enough, and Crescenta Valley fell, 3-0, to Brea Olinda in the opening round of the Southern Section playoffs at Osborne Field on Thursday.
“We got a little too wide-eyed, maybe,” Crescenta Valley coach Grant Clark said. “We tried to go too much, too big, too early. It’s one of the things when you coach high school kids. You have 15-, 16-, 17-, 18-year-old kids and we give them an idea and a game plan and they, a lot of the times, go along with it pretty well and sometimes we go out of that plan and things go a little bit haywire.”
The Falcons (11-8-4; second in the Pacific League) tallied three, successive corner opportunities to start the match, and came closest to scoring in the 11th minute when senior Caleb Abad went up for a point-blank header that was saved by Wildcats goalkeeper Jackson Swindle.
The Wildcats (9-8-2; Crestview League runner-up) came through when they picked off a failed Falcons clearance inside the box and slotted home the opening goal from Sean O’Brien in the 27th minute.
“I think if Crescenta Valley had scored in the first 20 minutes, it would have been a totally different game,” Brea Olinda coach Steven Teal said. “They definitely dominated that.
“The way we’ve played all year is we’ve been kind of a hit-or-miss team. We’re used to being dominated in early games and I think our goal, which was kind of lucky since it was a play where we played it, hit off their own guy and dropped for us to finish it. That goal just kind of settled them and they figured that out.”
A header from Kyle Tyson doubled the Brea Olinda lead, 2-0, in the 65th minute before a penalty-kick from Paco Hanon in the 73rd minute capped the scoring.
Crescenta Valley outshot Brea Olinda,10-3, with seven shots on target, but couldn’t prevent the shutout.
“What we wanted to do was get the forwards to be targets and to receive the ball to allow a lot of the offense to come underneath them,” Clark said. “We’re a lot more successful when we start playing to hit the forward, drop it back and then find the gaps, and we just never really got into that rhythm today to be able to do that.