Defensive organization is the key to winning a championship in any sport.
The Burroughs High boys’ soccer team has shown early in the season that it is well composed in the back.
That has led the Indians to the final of the Ralph Brandt Tournament following a 3-1 win over Royal High of Simi Valley in Saturday’s semifinal at Memorial Field.
Burroughs will play Birmingham of Lake Balboa Monday night at 7 p.m. at St. Francis High in La Canada for the tournament title.
“That whole group, we’re talking about a group of seniors all in the back from the goalkeeper to all the defenders,” Burroughs coach Mike Kodama said. “It is a big difference.”
The Indians feature goalie Jordan Morgan, as well as center backs Josh Sanchez and Richard Alonzo along with left back Diego Galaviz were all solid and have had a huge assist from defensive midfielder Cameron Kelly, who wins many loose balls and yet can still get the offense started.
“My role is to stay as aggressive as I can and fight for every single ball in the air and every ball on the ground,” Kelly said.
Burroughs got on the board in just the second minute as Anton Prather finished off a Jake Lasso-Spell pass that came from a free kick.
Lasso-Spell doubled Burroughs’ lead in the 9th minute when he headed in a free kick from Erik Camarillo.
The Indians continued to dominate Royal and struck for a third time right before halftime.
William Rosales made a fine run on the left side and crossed the ball to Andrew Bardales, who headed the ball off the hands of Royal goalie Nick Lapinid.
Ari Arango cleaned up the loose ball by putting it into the net.
“It is all about being first to the ball,” Kodama said.
Leading 3-0, Burroughs wasn’t as strong in the second half as it was in the first half. However, the Indians did well enough to allow Royal to sneak just one goal past Morgan.
In the quarterfinals Burroughs outlasted Sherman Oaks Notre Dame in penalties after the match ended in a 1-1 draw. Burroughs made all five of its penalty kicks and Notre Dame wasn’t far behind, making four of its five shots.
Notre Dame got on the board in the 61st minute as Max Markel perfect placed a softly touched cross from Joao Gonzalez in the left corner past Burroughs’ goalie Morgan.
Burroughs came by five minutes later and tied things in the 66th minute as Rosales scored on a left-footed shot following a pass from Lasso-Spell.
In the penalty shootout, Burroughs Prather, Camarillo, Rosales, Alonzo and Galviz scored their penalties.
The Indians clinched the victory when Morgan made a foot save on Notre Dame’s fifth and final penalty kick.