NORTHWEST GLENDALE — In command on their home field with a two-goal lead, the members of the Hoover High boys' soccer team appeared in good position to record a huge victory and move back into the playoff race.
Things then came apart for the Tornadoes, who squandered a two-goal advantage and might have suffered a severe blow in regard to grabbing one of the four automatic playoff spots after they finished in a 2-2 tie with visiting Arcadia in a Pacific League match Wednesday afternoon.
Hoover surrendered the tying goal to Wilton Quintero with 10 minutes left and, in the process, yielded two valuable points in the standings. Hoover is 3-4-4, 2-2-4 in league for 10 points and is in sixth place three points behind fourth-place Burroughs (4-3-1) and one behind Burbank (3-4-2). Arcadia improved to 6-4-3, 4-3-2 in league for 14 points and moved into a tie for second place with Pasadena with 14 points.
"We didn't play that well and we missed some great scoring opportunities," said Hoover Coach Kevin Cadenas, whose team battled to a 1-1 tie against Arcadia on the road Jan. 9. "We should have had this game, but now it's something that we need to learn from.
"We have to learn to keep our leads and stay more organized."
The Tornadoes, who tied their third game in a row, got a pair of first-half goals from midfielder Argin Haghoubian to take a 2-0 lead. Haghoubian opened the scoring in the 11th minute. He then scored on a rebound that was stopped by Arcadia goalkeeper Yusuf Elamasri off a shot by midfielder Artin Almary to extend the lead to 2-0 in the 17th minute.
Arcadia caught the break it needed when a Hoover defender was called for tripping an Arcadia player inside the goal box, warranting a penalty shot.
Arcadia's Diego Gonzalez converted on the penalty shot in the 35th minute to cut the lead to 2-1.
Quintero then tied the game when his 35-yard shot skipped past Hoover goalkeeper Malek Azadegan.
"We made a mistake that led to the penalty shot," Cadenas said. "With a 2-0 lead, you've got to be able to finish them off."
Haghoubian said the tie left Hoover stunned.
"We've given away six points with these ties," Haghoubian said. "These are must-wins for us and we've given away at least three wins so far in league.
"We had so many chances [to put Arcadia away], but we just couldn't finish."
Hoover will next compete in a league game at 3:30 p.m. Friday at Muir.