Canyon boys soccer sinks Calabasas with sound play


Playing in inclement weather, Canyon boys soccer traveled to Calabasas on a chilly Wednesday night.

Dominating the time of possession throughout the game, Canyon looked like the more prepared and technically sound team, defeating the Coyotes 3-0.

“I thought under the conditions we played well,” said Canyon head coach Robert Benavidez. “We came out and pressed them and were able to capitalize on their mistakes. Overall, I’m happy and satisfied. But like I just finished telling them, this is just one step in our journey and we have to continue to move forward and get ready for our next opponent and get ready for league.”

The Cowboys (2-1-2) began the game pressing-high not giving the opposing Calabasas players to create any space.

With Shane Kelly making the occasional run from his right-back position, the Cowboys threatened to score every time they possessed the ball.

Cracking defensively just 11 minutes into the half, Calabasas made a mistake that the Cowboys capitalized on.

Trying to clear a ball, Calabasas’ goalkeeper kicked the ball to a teammate, not seeing the Cowboys defender lurking just feet away. Stepping in front of the pass Edward Quijano stole the ball from about 20 yards out and rocketed a shot into the back of the Calabasas net putting Canyon ahead 1-0.

I noticed my left wing had covered me after I made the overlapping run and I heard my coach saying, ‘tuck in, tuck in,’” Quijano said. “So I tucked in and read the ball and with my first touch, just like we’ve been practicing, I hit it in.”

Tito Gonzalez and Kelly continued to put pressure on the Calabasas defense playing 1-2 with each other down the right flank.

Heading into the half, Canyon held a 1-0 lead over Calabasas.

The Coyotes came out aggressive and spent the opening minutes in Cowboys territory after halftime.

Creating a scoring opportunity on a corner-kick, Calabasas looked like it evened the game at 1-1 after a header with 26 minutes left in the second half, but the goal was ruled no good because of a push in the back by a Coyote player.

Continuing to play technically sound soccer, the Cowboys were able to light up the scoreboard with 16 minutes left in the game after forward Joe Lucia broke free netting the second goal of the game for the Cowboys.

Finally breaking through after being denied just inches short of a goal by the crossbar on the previous trip down the field, Gonzalez was able to get behind the Calabasas defense on a through ball.

Going one-on-one, Gonzalez switched the ball to his right foot putting the Cowboys ahead 3-0 in the closing minutes of the second half.

“It’s a rainy day so I knew I had to have a really close touch,” Gonzalez said. “I saw the ball coming to me, I turned as I could and I just used my speed and took the ball to the keeper. It was a 50/50 shot and it ended up going my way.”

Dropping their first game of the season, Canyon is undefeated in the last four games, going 2-0-2, and will take on South Pasadena High School on the road at 3:30 p.m. on Friday.

“We have gone previous years without winning a single game, but we don’t lose here. We just learn and we are ready for anybody,” Quijano said.

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