“Santa Maria is a good team, and we knew that they were going to be tough,” Burroughs Coach Mike Kodama said about the Saints, who shared the Los Padres League title. “They were able to convert on the chances that they had.”
After creating very few chances of their own in the first half, the Indians (18-7-2) played better in the second half, at times dominating play.
However, early goals by Santa Maria (16-5-6) forced the Indians to play catch-up late in the second half.
Burroughs dodged a bullet early in the first half when Santa Maria’s Andy Contreras was awarded a penalty kick. Contreras tried to go low and to the right on Burroughs goalkeeper Andre Yanez, but Yanez guessed right and made a diving stop.
The Saints kept up the pressure, however, and were able to score three minutes later on a shot by Javier Aparicio.
“It’s tough when you get down by a goal like that early,” Kodama said. “You have to change some things around and play a different type of strategy.”
With the Saints holding a 1-0 advantage going into the second half, the Indians started creating some offense chances.
However, it was Santa Maria which found the net first in the second half, as Nester Alvarez scored a goal in the 47th minute.
Undaunted, Burroughs kept plugging away. Luis Feliz rifled a shot in the 51st minute that rattled the crossbar. But the attempt came back into the field of play and the Saints were able to clear it.
“If that shot by Luis goes in, we’re only down by one goal with plenty of time left,” Kodama said.
Feliz did finally hit pay dirt in the 61st minute when he converted on a header after a throw-in by Evan Martinez to cut the lead in half.
After missing on another chance in the 64th minute, the Saints put the pressure on the Indians with a goal in the 65th minute. Eduardo Luna scored to give the visitors a 3-1 advantage.
Burroughs thought it had its second goal in the 79th minute when Yanez came out and scored on a free kick. However, the referee signaled for an indirect kick, and Yanez’s effort sailed into the goal untouched.
“I’m proud of the way our guys played,” Kodama said. “They never gave up and they were in there battling.”