HomeCommunity NewsNitros, Falcons Battle to Scoreless Tie

Nitros, Falcons Battle to Scoreless Tie

First published in the Feb. 4 print issue of the Glendale News-Press.

With the boys’ soccer regular season winding down, Crescenta Valley High School had already secured the Pacific League championship without dropping a point, but there was still business to be done as the Falcons hosted second-place Glendale High for the final matchup of the season between the league’s two top squads.
Glendale came in with a game plan tailored to combat the host Falcons and deftly executed it, locking down Crescenta Valley and forcing a 0-0 tie last Saturday morning, which suited the Nitros just fine.
“We were just trying to prevent [CVHS] from having a perfect 14-0 league season. That was our whole goal,” Glendale coach Brandon Weisman said. “Today was about competing for 80 minutes and I think we did that. [The Falcons] have not dropped a single point in league until today, and we are very proud of the fact that we took those two points from them.”
Although Crescenta Valley (17-1-1 overall record, 11-0-1 league) remains undefeated in league play, the Falcons were less than pleased with the result that saw them take a single point and not the three awarded for a victory.
“You saw the boys as they came off. That was a defeat to them,” CV coach Kurtis Millan said. “At the start of the year we set realistic targets — the boys set the targets, we just try to help them achieve those targets. One of them was to win every game in the league, but I don’t think they gave as much respect to Glendale as they should have.”
Glendale (10-2-3, 7-2-3) hatched the game plan for this meeting between the teams out of the results of the first matchup between the rivals, in which Crescenta Valley traveled to the Nitros’ home pitch and won 4-0 on Jan. 22.
“When we played them earlier in the year we got beat, but we didn’t feel we were four goals worse than them, so our whole thing was proving we are not four goals worse than this team,” Weisman said.
Throughout the rematch, the Nitros kept their defensive shape while looking to attack on the counter.
“We were OK giving away the possession to them. We just wanted to force them into long balls and I think we did a good job of that,” Weisman said. “I think we executed our game plan perfectly. I don’t think we could have executed that much better.”
The Falcons were unable to find the back of the net for the first time this season in Pacific League play.
“The [Glendale] game plan was to sit tight, compact and catch us on the counterattack and frustrate us. Credit to the coach and the players because they were very disciplined and stuck to their task and it worked,” Millan said.
For Crescenta Valley, the top-ranked team in the the CIF-Southern Section Division III poll, the experience was one that may benefit the Falcons if another opponent mimics the Nitros’ approach.
“We need to go back to, pardon the cliche, the drawing board on what do in situations like that because it will happen,” Millan said. “I don’t think we were bad today, and that is credit to Glendale. I actually think we were quite good, we had a few opportunities, but we just need to look at, when teams play like that, how do we overcome it?”
Glendale is unranked in Division IV, but Saturday’s result has the Nitros encouraged.
“The way we see it is that if we can play the top team in Division III to a 0-0 draw, we can do anything in Division IV,” Weisman said. “So we are excited for the next couple weeks to see what we can do.”
In the first half, both teams were near even in shots attempted and each had one corner kick apiece.
The best scoring chance for the Nitros came in the 13th minute. Edgar Naghdalyan passed the ball to Kevin Anjunyan in the middle of the field, but his shot skipped along the ground and ultimately went wide.
The Falcons’ best chance came before the break in the 34th minute, when the ball got through the Nitros’ defense to CV’s Owen Denisiu near the end line, but the angle was tight to the goal and the senior was unable to put the shot on frame.
Crescenta Valley outshot the visitors in the second half, but did not manufacture a quality scoring chance.
Glendale almost got on the board in the 50th minute when a pass slotted through the CV defense and found Hani Ahmadie deep in the box on the left side. However, the junior’s shot sailed wide as the goalkeeper moved in on him.
“Once again, kudos to [CV],” Weisman said. “They are league champs for a reason. They are dangerous all over the pitch.”

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