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Nitros nipped by 2nd-place Indians

Soccer: Glendale hangs tough, but second-half header does in Nitros, 1-0.

February 07, 2012|By Grant Gordon,

SOUTHEAST GLENDALE — With a golden opportunity to take care of its league standing, Burroughs' High's boys' soccer team found few golden opportunities against host Glendale presenting themselves in Tuesday afternoon's Pacific League match.

Turns out all the Indians would need was one, and it came off the head of Francisco Baez in the 64th minute, as the Indians fended off the Nitros, 1-0, to secure second place in league.

"We had to take advantage of our opportunities," said Burroughs Coach Mike Kodama, whose team improved to 8-8-4 and 7-3-3 in league for 24 points, which, combined with a Pasadena tie with Hoover, clinched second place. "We finally took advantage of one."


Leading into the league's final day of play on Thursday, Burroughs has already clinched second behind champion Crescenta Valley, while Burbank's defeat of Arcadia on Tuesday clinched the Bulldogs a playoff spot and also moved Burbank into third with 20 points, while Pasadena has 19, meaning the only settling point left is whether or not Burbank or Pasadena will take third.

On the other end of league, Glendale (2-7-4 in league) sits in a tie with Muir for last place headed into its Thursday meeting with archrival Hoover, which is in sixth place.

Still, the Nitros hung tough all match long, which is impressive considering how trying a season it's been for a Glendale squad that had seven seniors quit during league play and has also lost two starters to grade ineligibility. With nine underclassmen on the roster, it's been a struggle, but the effort seen on Tuesday, coupled with youthful promise, has the Nitros looking ahead.

"After those players quit, we actually started to play better," Glendale Coach Tulio Marroquin said. "We have a lot of young players; it's promising for the future."

On Tuesday, though, the game was back and forth with neither team getting any great scoring chances during a scoreless first half.

After Glendale drilled a shot into the side of the net early in the second half, the Indians went on a sustained run with the scoreless stalemate preserved by Glendale keeper Christian Der Gregorian. He made four saves, but all of them were borderline spectacular, including a point-blank stop of a Brandon Gerlach shot, as the latter got loose on the left wing.

But, with nobody marking Baez tightly roughly 10 yards off the goal on a throw-in set piece, Baez headed in a 1-0 lead inside the near post with Der Gregorian having little hope of stopping the shot.

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