LA CAÑADA — It’s a new era for the Glendale High boys’ soccer team, one willed with plenty of grit and commitment.
With new coach Brandon Weisman on board, the Nitros intend to contend for the Pacific League championship after placing fifth last season and missing the playoffs.
Weisman must have liked what he saw Thursday afternoon, as Glendale scored two first-half goals en route to a 2-1 nonleague road win against La Cañada.
Glendale (2-0) got one goal apiece from Vincente Sanchez and Ernesto Hernandez before holding off a late surge by La Cañada (1-1) late in the second half under a steady downpour.
“I like the determination we have and they want to find ways to contribute,” said Weisman, who was the boys’ soccer coach at Chaparral High in Temecula the past two seasons. “I expect a lot of passion from them and they are showing it and you saw that today against a very, very good team on the other side.
“These are the kind of games that are hard and they get you ready for league. We have a lot of talent and we want to be a gritty team.”
The Nitros controlled the pace throughout most of the first half before the Spartans, who finished second in the Rio Hondo League last season, held a territorial edge in the second half.
Sanchez gave Glendale a 1-0 lead when he took a pass inside the box from Anri Sahakyan and beat La Cañada goalkeeper Nicholas Boghossian with a low shot in the fourth minute.
Hernandez extended the lead to 2-0 with less than a minute remaining in the first half.
“The ball just came to me and I just tried to shoot the ball as hard as I could,” Hernandez said. “There really wasn’t that much time left.
“This was a very hard game to play and we’re happy with the result. It’s something we can build on from here.”
La Cañada had a couple of quality scoring chances in the first half, including a 25-yard shot by JP Crispi that struck the post in the ninth minute.
With rain falling throughout most of the second half, La Cañada attempted to make a comeback bid.
The Spartans trimmed the deficit to 2-1 on a goal by Matthew Brown with about 18 minutes left.
The Spartans nearly tied the score, but a diving save by Glendale goalkeeper Edgar Ovasapyan in the 78th minute preserved the victory.
“We just tried to keep coming back and I’m satisfied with our effort for the most part,” said La Cañada coach Bruno Acosta, a former All-Area Boys’ Soccer Coach of the Year. “I’ve been pushing the players from a physical aspect and they are getting the idea.
“We got a little unlucky on their second goal after it deflected a couple of times. I really can’t be down with the way we played and there’s some good things to take away from this game.”