Before diving into Pacific League competition, the Burbank High boys’ soccer team had one final opportunity to iron out a recent nagging issue.
The Bulldogs lately had incurred struggles finishing on scoring chances inside the box, thus putting the onus on the them to turn things around quickly.
Burbank likely solved its problem, as Gabriel Mier scored two first-half goals to power host Burbank to a 3-0 nonleague victory versus Alemany on Tuesday.
It’s a sign the Bulldogs (4-2) might now be heading in the right direction in their quest to challenge for a league title and make a deep postseason run under the guidance of first-year coach Robert Romero.
“I think we’ve played a pretty tough nonleague schedule,” Romero said. “You’re seeing how you can do against some really good competition and our guys know we can beat some of these teams that we’ve played, like Hart.”
Burbank, which finished fourth in league and qualified for the playoffs last season, got a big performance from Mier.
Mier pressured Alemany’s defense throughout most of the first half before finally capitalizing twice.
Mier gave Burbank a 1-0 lead in the 35th minute when he got past an Alemany defender and launched a shot just under the crossbar.
“We’ve had trouble finishing the last couple of games,” Mier said. “We have to do a better job at beating the defenders to the ball and shooting. We’ve been struggling with pressuring defenses.
“On my first goal, I just tried to look for a pass inside or just outside the box and make a run and finish.”
Mier made it 2-0 on a breakaway with about a minute remaining in the first half.
“His speed with the ball is tremendous,” Romero said. “It can be a key factor in being able to take the team to the next level.”
The Bulldogs capped the scoring on a goal by George Atallah in the 47th minute.
Burbank goalkeeper Hayk Tovmasyan finished with three saves, all in the first half. Tovmasyan made a save off a header by Robert Muller of Alemany (1-1) inside the box in the 19th minute.
Burbank will open league with a road match against Crescenta Valley, which won the league championship last season, at 3:15 p.m. Friday.
“It should be a good game,” Romero said. “We’ll find out more about where we stand. If we can play to our capabilities and continue to gel, we should be in contention in league.”