Atanackovic scores triple in the win as Falcons’ season-long domination continues with 4-0 victory.
By Alan der OHANNESSIAN
Falcons soccer is like a freight train, running over teams with little effort. Consequently, barring a miracle, the Mustangs were destined to lose on Friday. CV defeated the co-Pacific League leader Pasadena 2-1 and then handled Muir on Tuesday with ease, winning at home 4-0.
CV is now in first place, all alone at 4-0-2. The team is 8-0-6 overall.
The Falcons, as usual, put Mustangs’ defense on its heels from the beginning. Within six minutes of kickoff, the Falcons scored their first goal as Alex Berger played a 20-yard pass from midfield to Erick Trejo inside the penalty area who put it past the goalkeeper Peter Tapia for a 1-0 lead.
The first goal was just a precursor to what was coming.
The Falcons scored again as Salar Hajimirsadeghi was fouled inside the penalty area resulting in a penalty shot.
Though the goalkeeper guessed the correct side, he couldn’t prevent the goal as Atanackovic put it to his left for a two-goal lead, his first of three for the day.
Muir changed goalkeepers, bringing in substitute Francisco Arzulela Diaz in an attempt to stop the bleeding.
But CV kept hammering at the opposition.
Atanackovic attempted a cross-pass to Berger into the penalty area, but Juan Rubalcava intercepted it.
That didn’t slowdown Berger as he had another opportunity at scoring but his attempted lob over the keeper sailed wide to the left.
The third time was not the charm as Berger made another try, but hit the upper crossbar.
Finally, agile Jung Jaehoon spaced himself, finding Atanackovic inside the penalty area who tipped the ball as Diaz dove to his right for the save by the tips of his fingers.
Trejo passed to Atanackovic inside the penalty area who effortlessly shot it to the upper left.
Though the Mustangs had every reason to despair, they retained their fighting spirit.
Francisco Ortiz miss-kicked a lob that almost went into the Falcons’ net, catching Nick Ruiz by surprise.
Ruiz was tested again, diving to his left to save a shot by Rodrigo Luna as the Falcons had a commanding lead going into halftime.
Retaking the field, it seemed the team lost its intensity. While they did have their share of opportunities, it was much less compared to the first half.
Berger recognized the goalkeeper was out of position, and attempted a lob. However luck wasn’t on his side and the ball hit the upper crossbar. On a free kick, he tried to surprise the keeper by kicking straight into the net instead of lobbing to teammate Atanackovic but it sailed just outside the left bar.
But the Falcons recovered enough to score again when Atanackovic caught a rebound off Hajimirsadeghi, soundly putting it into the empty net for a 4-0 lead.
Despite the impressive win, Coach Grant Clark felt the team left some gaps open compromising their defense. He added that the team was lucky for not conceding a goal because of those mistakes, but believes that won’t be the case come playoff time.
The team is committed to keeping their winning freight train on track.
“We want to win every game,” said Atanackovic. “We’re hoping to reach the finals this year.”
The Falcons next host Arcadia on Friday at 3:15 p.m.