LA CRESCENTA — Both La Cañada High and Crescenta Valley's boys' soccer teams finished Thursday's game with their hands over their heads.
Although there were plenty of chances to go around, neither team was able to score, as the match at Crescenta Valley ended in a 0-0 tie.
The tie puts a one in each column for Crescenta Valley after beating St. Francis, 3-1, on Tuesday and losing to South Pasadena, 4-3, Wednesday.
"Obviously we'd love to score a goal and get a win at home, but I see more positive than negatives out of this game," Crescenta Valley Coach Kiel McClung said. "La Cañada is a very good school and for us to get a result out of it after playing back-to-back-to-back games. Kudos to the boys and their willingness to come out and battle again."
La Cañada (1-0-1) Coach Barry Ritson was singing a different tune on the other sideline.
"There just wasn't that little bit extra, and to win games against better teams you need to put in that little bit more," Ritson said.
Ritson felt his team started out strong, using the whole field and getting in behind the Falcon's defense, but it stopped doing that for most of the game thereafter. The Spartans didn't get back to it until there were just 15 minutes left.
"We've got to learn from that," Ritson said. "We can't deviate so far from what's going to be our game plan all year."
Crescenta Valley's two best chances came consecutively on rebounds seven minutes into the second half. The first chance came when Spartan goaltender Jack Hale punched a shot out to Falcons midfielder Vahe Nalbandian. Nalbandian shot the ball off the right sidebar. The wayward ball bounced out to teammate Alex Berger who fired the ball just off the top post and out of play.
"It looked like we were going to sneak one in there a couple of times," McClung said.
Although the Spartans dominated possession the entire game, the Falcons still had plenty of chances. Crescenta Valley finished the game with 14 shots (five on goal), opposed to La Cañada's 12 shots (five on goal).
Spartan midfielder Matt Cannatta was responsible for all three of La Cañada's quality scoring chances, coming up just short each time.
The first chance came on a one-on-one opportunity between Cannatta and Falcon's goalie Nick Ruiz with 28 minutes remaining in the first half. Ruiz came out of the net and Cannatta attempted to dance around him but Ruiz pushed the ball out to safety at the last second, knocking Cannatta over.
Ruiz got the better of Cannatta again with 6:30 left in the game. Arash Mahboubi took possession at midfield, dancing around defenders into the box and laying the ball off to a wide-open Cannatta. He immediately fired the ball at the goal with Ruiz seemingly nowhere close. Ruiz managed to kick the ball away from danger, keeping the game scoreless.
Cannatta's final chance came less then 30 seconds later. A cross came to him, unmarked in the middle of the box, but his header was well off target and out of play.
Those three failed chances summed up the game for La Cañada — a lot of effort without that little bit of quality, according to Ritson said.
"We'll look to Mattie [Cannatta] because he does have that quality and it is disappointing that he didn't score two or three goals today because he is so talented," Ritson said. "I think that was the difference — he isn't in top form yet. Three great chances on any other day, he puts all three away."