LA CRESCENTA — Shortly after the sun set, the Crescenta Valley High boys’ soccer team was left in the dark after its bid to win a second straight Pacific League championship was derailed.
Crescenta Valley came into the final league match Thursday against Arcadia tied with Burroughs for first place with 29 points. A victory by Crescenta Valley would give it at least a share of the league title.
Instead, Crescenta Valley finished in a 2-2 tie versus Arcadia, and, coupled with Burroughs’ 4-0 road victory against crosstown rival Burbank, finished second behind Burroughs.
“It’s disappointing right now that we didn’t win league, but we are heading into the playoffs playing some good soccer,” Crescenta Valley coach Grant Clark said. “We played very hard, but we just couldn’t get that winning goal. We came close a couple of times.
“We were waiting to get that go-ahead goal and it just never came.”
Crescenta Valley (11-7-4, 9-2-3 for 30 points) tied the score at 2 on a penalty kick by Eric Cho with about 15 minutes remaining in the second half.
The Falcons pressed for the next goal, only to see Arcadia goalkeeper Tyler Berger stop Caleb Abad inside the box with about six minutes to play.
“I really wasn’t satisfied after I scored on the penalty shot,” said Cho, a junior. “We knew we still had to push ahead to try to get that next goal and we came so close late in the game.
“I think we came in mentally focused after warming up. We gave up that first goal early and then got back into it. It’s definitely going to be a learning experience for us going into the playoffs.”
Arcadia (5-12-2, 3-9-1 for 11 points) gave Crescenta Valley all it could handle throughout the 80-minute contest.
After the Falcons were called for a dangerous play, which led to an indirect kick, the Apaches converted to take a 1-0 lead in the 12th minute. Katsuki Inatomi’s kick was directed by teammate Alexander Yen just under the crossbar past Crescenta Valley goalkeeper Nick Shahbandarian.
Crescenta Valley responded about 30 seconds later on an unassisted goal by Abad to knot it at 1.
Arcadia took a 2-1 lead in the first minute of the second half on a goal by Ishman Rahman.
Crescenta Valley was awarded a penalty kick in the 65th minute. Abad and Berger (five saves) went for the loose ball inside the box, though it appeared as though Berger tripped Abad. The officials originally ruled no foul, but they met briefly before awarding the Falcons a penalty shot, which Cho converted on.
“Today was a little frantic, but we have a good feeling going into the playoffs,” said Clark, whose team posted a 4-1 win at Arcadia on Jan. 11. “We are heading in the right direction.”