By David O’CONNOR
Before battling Pasadena High School on Wednesday, the Crescenta Valley boys’ soccer team suffered its second defeat in the Pacific League on Monday. It was a case of failing to convert plenty of attacking opportunities as the Falcons lost 1-0 to Burbank High School at home.
In the opening minutes, senior mid-fielder Justin Wright’s stylish back-pass almost paid off for freshman Kyle Quesada, who only had the goalkeeper to beat in a breakaway, but the ball ricocheted off the ensuing tackle and sprayed to the left of the net.
The Falcons controlled most of the opening half mainly due to senior mid-fielder Kevin Ginosian and Wright leading the home team’s offense, but their dominance didn’t reflect on the scoreboard. Wright’s 25-yard strike curled to the left of the goal and his subsequent shot was grabbed by the Bulldogs’ goalie.
Junior goalkeeper Makan Afzali kept the visitors scoreless in the first stanza due to several saves that required him to put his body on the line, which included one powerful jolt from a Burbank attacker.
Key mid-fielder junior Joshua Moran was missing from the Falcons lineup due to undisclosed reasons. This resulted in the home team’s offense not operating at its optimum by missing his valuable assists and astute game awareness.
Early in the second half, Wright’s 30-yard untouched run down the right sideline enabled him to cross the ball to senior Jason Winicki, who found Ginosian, but was unable to beat the Burbank goalie’s sliding tackle.
Team captain Ginosian feels that it is imperative the Falcons turn their season around quickly and pinpoints communication as the main problem behind the offense not capitalizing on unfinished chances to find the net.
“We need to turn the season around before it gets too late. We’re not taking advantage of opportunities because of our communication … We have the talent, I know we do,” Ginosian said. “We need to come together as a team and that’s our problem. It starts with coaching, it starts with teamwork, from every single player and its dedication, heart and we’ve got to want it more. It’s just not there right now.”
Fifteen minutes from the final whistle, the Bulldogs caught the Falcons defense off-guard with an accurate feed that found a forward, who headed the match-winning goal into the net.
CVHS’s Head Coach Grant Clark found it difficult to highlight any positives from his side’s defeat, but gave credit to Burbank’s uncompromising style of play and felt his side didn’t maintain adequate intensity throughout the 80 minutes.
“I don’t have a lot to say, not much positive. Burbank came out and played hard. We’re a better team than that, but it’s not coming through in the games,” Clark said. “That’s something I’ve got to take responsibility for, I’ve got to coach harder at practice, got to get them more prepared so we can generate more opportunities.”
“We have a tendency to come out and be real intense for a few minutes and then we kind of sag off for a little bit and sometimes we pick it back up,” Clark added.
The Falcons record league record was 0-2-1 (3-7-1 overall) as of Wednesday afternoon. On Friday the team hosts Hoover at 3:15 p.m. The Tornadoes are the only other winless team in league.