NORTHWEST GLENDALE — With quite a bit left to play for, the Glendale High boys' soccer team showed surprisingly little urgency in battling its Pacific League rival Hoover to finish off the regular season on Thursday.
A tie or better against the Tornadoes, who were not in playoff contention, would give the Nitros the one point necessary to hold off Muir for third place in the league standings and secure a better playoff seed.
Glendale, which chose to rest several key injured players, got the 1-1 tie it needed, but had to wait until the 60th minute to get the all-important tying tally, which came on an own goal when a Hoover defender ended up knocking in Alan Ghazarian's shot, one of only two the Nitros fired the entire second half.
"This was a big game, but we had quite a few injuries, most of my starters were sitting down," Glendale Coach Tulio Marroquin said. "But the guys came through and this really helps us a lot, so we can at least secure the third seed."
The Nitros finish the season 9-2-8 and 6-2-6 in league behind Crescenta Valley and Burroughs. Muir, which defeated Pasadena on Thursday, finishes fourth in league at 7-4-3. Though both teams finished with 24 points, Glendale took the head-to-head tiebreaker, according to Marroquin.
Hoover didn't have many more golden opportunities than Glendale, but controlled the run of play for a majority of the match and took more shots, including five in the second half. The Tornadoes led from the 19th minute until the tying goal after Argian Haghoubian stopped at the left, outer corner of the penalty box and placed a shot just under the crossbar to open the scoring.
"We actually started to get some rhythm towards the end [of the season]," said Hoover Coach Kevin Cadenas, whose team also played the league-champion Falcons to a 1-0 loss on Jan. 28 and rallied to tie the Nitros in the teams' other meeting on Jan. 18. "We've been playing some good soccer and today we had a better chance to win, we just got unlucky on the [own] goal, but the effort was there."
Hoover, which finishes the season 4-11-3 and 2-9-3 in league, continued to press for another goal down the stretch, while the Nitros seemed content to defend the tie at all costs. A 10-yard free kick into the box by Hoover's Rene Chicas with two minutes to play was headed out of bounds.
"By us getting the third seed, hopefully it avoids us having to go to Oxnard and playing one of those [high-seeded] teams like we've done in the past two seasons," Marroquin said. "We were counting on getting that one point."