As the seconds ticked away in Saugus’ home match Friday afternoon against Burroughs, an easterly wind gradually pushed smoke from the Thomas Fire into the Santa Clarita Valley.
It served as a reminder of the constant and fierce battle going on 30-or-so miles away.
The reminder was subtle at kickoff. But by game’s end, with Saugus’ 2-0 victory well in hand, the smoke had completely enveloped the sun and mountains visible in the distance in the first half had vanished.
“Kind of an eerie vibe,” said Saugus coach Seth Groller.
Dylan Sullivan and Jeremy Hindigian provided second-half goals, both unassisted, to lead the Cents to their second straight preleague win.
Sullivan picked up a shot from Jason Hindigian that ricocheted off Burroughs’ goalkeeper and scored with ease on a wide-open net off the right side.
It was the only shot of the day for Sullivan, coming with 18:20 to play in the second half. Anthony Linderos initially found Jason Hindigian inside the penalty box with a cross from the left flank.
“Any time you can get the ball out wide and get a quality cross like that, good things are going to happen,” Groller said.
Jeremy Hindigian iced the win with a liner from 30 yards out, sailing just under the crossbar and freezing the goalkeeper with a little over six minutes to play. Jeremy finished off the goal with the “Dead Fish” celebration from the FIFA 18 video game, with his teammates huddling around him near the Saugus bench around midfield.
“I told all my teammates the next time I scored I was going to do it — it was pre-planned,” said Jeremy, adding he thought he had solid execution with the celebration.
Prior to the goals, Saugus (3-1-2) goalkeeper Matt Sayers made a superb save off a Burroughs (4-3-1) penalty kick, diving to his left and adding a fist bump to boot.
“Matt is a very competitive guy,” Groller said. “Especially when there’s a call in the box he doesn’t necessarily agree with, he just gets into it. He’s very passionate and you could see it in his eyes.
“ … It was huge to not go down there. A one-goal deficit is huge in that spot.”
Sayers had four saves on the day. Saugus had four shots on goal, with Frank Ornelas and Landeros chipping in one apiece, along with Sullivan and Jeremy Hindigian.
The Cents continue their preleague slate Tuesday with a home match against Westlake.