Crescenta Valley boys' soccer locks up second

LA CRESCENTA — They were winless in their previous two matches and they definitely didn't want to enter the playoffs with a loss or a tie in their Pacific League finale. Especially with their rivals coming into town.

The members of the Crescenta Valley High boys’ soccer team were determined to win Friday’s match against Arcadia.

Even though they fell behind early, the Falcons outplayed and outshot the Apaches, registering 19 shots to Arcadia’s three.

CV used a bit of Apache misfortune in the 62nd minute and a Chris Sinani score in the 65th minute to defeat Arcadia, 2-1.

The Falcons (20-3-7, 8-2-4 in league) finished second place in league. A loss would’ve dropped the Falcons to third place in league, after CV (28 points) lost to league-champion Burroughs (33 points) on Feb. 1 and tied third-place Pasadena (26 points) on Tuesday.

“We wanted to come out strong,” Sinani said. “We were not going to lose to Arcadia. We were going to go all out. We were going to pressure them and take our chances.”

The Falcons had plenty of chances to score in the first half.

“But we kept hitting the keeper right in the hands,” said CV Coach Grant Clark, whose team registered nine shots, including four on goal, in the first 40 minutes.

Arcadia’s Diego Gonzalez capitalized on his team’s only shot on goal in the first half, scoring from the middle of the field on a 25-yard shot that gave the Apaches (9-11-1, 6-8) a 1-0 lead.

Arcadia needed to win to advance to the playoffs.

It didn’t get the win after three minutes changed the course of the match.

In the 62 minute, CV’s Pablo Hernandez fired a shot from the right side of the field toward the net. An Arcadia defender tried to clear the shot, but the ball hit his heel and bounced into the Apaches net.

“One of my assistant coaches said we needed a luck and a skill goal,” Clark said. “It’s unfortunate for a guy who works so hard in the back of the defense and puts it into his own net.

“It’s luck, but we’ll take it.”

A few minutes later, the Falcons got the skill goal they needed to take the lead when Sinani scored inside the box on an assist from Erick Trejo.

“They found a weakness in the defense and they were relentless,” said Arcadia Coach Paul Miles, whose team, which had 18 points in league, missed out on the playoffs after Pasadena defeating Muir and Glendale (19 points) upended Hoover to claim the fourth-place spot in league. “The momentum [after the first goal] changed everything. They kept peppering us.”

The match took a scary turn in the 89th minute when Arcadia forward Brian Chang collided with CV goalkeeper Josh Cook. Chang fell to the ground and pounded the field in pain.

Play was stopped for 20 minutes while coaches and trainers kept Chang motionless on the field. Clark called the ambulance and Chang was taken off the field on a stretcher.

“He’s going to be OK,” Miles said. “He had a little bit of lower back pain. This was all for precaution.”

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