ARCADIA — It wasn't until time had nearly run out for the Arcadia High boys' soccer team to make a push Friday afternoon against visiting Glendale that the Apaches showed any real offensive spark. Desperation proved to be an effective motivator, though, as Arcadia scored twice inside the final eight minutes to steal a 2-1 Pacific League win from the stunned Nitros.
Glendale, which opened its league campaign Tuesday with a 1-1 tie against defending-champion Crescenta Valley, looked to be on its way to its first league win when junior forward Sevag Aznavour buried the first goal of the match in the 54th minute and the Nitros then went on to control most of the action while getting several more opportunities to pad the lead.
"We had our chances — we hit the post a couple times, their goalie made a couple good saves — and we just couldn't convert," Glendale Coach Tulio Marroquin said. "We definitely had our chances and we just didn't take advantage of them. They had a couple and they capitalized. It happens, that's soccer."
Arcadia's fortunes turned when a lob pass from the right side over to Joshua Rios playing the far post for a header was deflected by the hand of Glendale defender Ara Ghazaryan, setting up a penalty kick for Diego Gonzalez, which the junior converted low left with inside eight minutes to play.
Glendale (1-2-6, 0-1-1 in league) made a strong push to retake the lead, getting a good look at a shot from 10 feet out by Kelby Hernandez that was blocked. But Arcadia soon turned momentum around again when Gonzalez took off on a breakaway. His running shot from 25 yards was smothered by diving Glendale goalkeeper Christian Der Gregorian, but Der Gregorian couldn't secure the ball.
Instead it rolled a few feet back toward the net away from the helpless goalie, where Steven Burstyn charged in to boot home the go-ahead goal from point-blank range with four minutes left.
"I saw the [Arcadia] coach made a couple of changes, I think he went more offensive as soon as he saw the game was getting out of hand," Marroquin said. "I think that switched the momentum to their favor. We just couldn't keep our pace.
"That guy had a good hit on that ball and [Der Gregorian] coughed it up, it's just unfortunate there were no defenders there to clean that up."
Arcadia (4-1-1, 2-0) began the final 15 minutes of the scoreless first half by establishing brief run of offense, mounting several shot attempts, none on goal. Glendale then closed the half with its own rise of momentum, but couldn't establish any scoring chances. The frustration persisted early in the second half for Glendale when Allen Grakasian grounded a free kick from the right side of the penalty box to Hernandez, who had his first shot deflected and then went wide right on the short follow up.
Just 10 minutes later, however, Glendale's Leo Magardechian passed to Grakasian, who took a shot from inside the goal box that ricocheted off the chest of the Arcadia goalkeeper and straight to Aznavour, who knocked it home.
Glendale would get more chances to score, including a cross along the end line from Artur Nazarian to Hernandez, who had his short shot blocked, and a 40-yard laser by Aznavour that clanged off the left post with 18 minutes left.