By Rick Assad
In a highly-spirited and sometimes physical Pacific League boys’ soccer match on Friday afternoon at Memorial Field, Burroughs High wadded through all of this, but collected just enough goals and certainly more than enough defense to hold off much-improved Burbank 2-1.
After the Bulldogs unloaded three shots to begin the clash, the Bears (4-4-1 overall and 3-2 in league) bounced back with three shots of their own, including a 14-foot header from freshman Alexander Loera in the 16th minute for a 1-0 advantage.
Burbank evened the affair at 1-1 on a 37-yard boot from attacker Gabriel Mier in the 34th minute.
The go-ahead goal came in the 61st minute on a break away from sophomore Dominic Quijada.
“It was a good game. We expected the physicality. Their program has improved, and it was a big test that has big league implications,” Burroughs coach Michael Solano said of the one-goal victory. “It was fun to be part of the derby.”
The Bulldogs (3-3 in all matches and 3-3 in league) could have pushed in front when midfielder Abraham Rivera’s shot from 32 yards nicked the top of the goal in the 56th minute.
Loera and Quijada are young and talented players and were on top of their game and it showed throughout the match, which pleased Solano.
“Alex and Dominic played well. When we combine in the midfield and find them in space they trigger our attacking combinations,” said Solano of the team’s two goal scorers. “They did their part and they’ve been immense for us this season.”
Attacker Narek Chobanyan’s 18-footer in the opening minute drifted wide left for the Bulldogs.
Rivera’s 65-yard free kick in the fourth minute came close while a 33-yard blast from midfielder Freddy Cardenas in the ninth minute was off the mark for Burbank.
Quijada’s 25-yarder two minutes later was off target and senior Landon Espinoza’s 32-yard boot for the Bears in the 15th minute missed the target.
Junior Andrew Rodas’ 37-yard penalty kick in the 25th minute failed to locate the back of the net for Burroughs.
Burbank, which played close man-to-man defense, seemingly controlled the next 15 minutes by kicking four shots including the match-tying tally.
After knotting the game at 1-1, Mier had a 29-yard penalty kick in the 36th minute.
Rivera tacked on a 45-yard free kick in the 39th minute and Mier’s 25-yard blast in the 40th minute was the last kick of the opening half.
The second half commenced with a 23-yard kick by Loera in the 41st minute and was followed by Loera’s 35-yard free kick in the 42nd minute.
Burbank had the next four attempts as defender Bryan Juarez nailed a 15-yarder in the 44th minute.
Mier’s corner kick and a 12-foot header by Cardenas in the 47th minute was off.
Cardenas then added a 37-yard boot in the 52nd minute and Rivera then came so close to tying the match.
Senior Alexander Leanos tossed in an 18-yarder in the 57th minute and the final boot of the match was Quijada’s 14-yarder in the 63rd minute.