With temperatures in the low to mid 50’s, Canyon boys soccer was in a heated battle against Channel Islands High School in the Hart Varsity Showcase at Canyon High on Thursday.
Scoring the opening goal, Canyon could not withstand the Raiders attack for the full 80 minutes of play, dropping a tough one 3-2.
“They moved the ball really well,” said Canyon head coach Robert Benavidez. “A couple of goals were just miscommunication on our part and they were opportunistic on their shots. We battled for the full-length of the game and hopefully, this helps us get ready for league.”
In the opening minutes, Canyon’s Drew Leskin dropped a beautifully placed free kick into the middle of the visitor’s goalie box. After taking a few bounces, the ball bounced up in front of Ivan Ledesma, who headed in the game’s first goal to put the Cowboys ahead 1-0.
Canyon (3-3-2 overall, 2-0 in Foothill League) did a good job of turning back Channel Island’s attacks by clogging up the middle, forcing them to air the ball out from its backline.
Then tragedy struck.
Trying to clear a ball Canyon defender Shane Kelly inadvertently got called for a handball at the edge of the penalty box, awarding Channel Islands (9-2-2, 1-0-1) a penalty kick.
Channel Island’s Adrian Leon stepped to the ball and confidently netted the game-tying goal in the bottom left corner.
The teams headed into the half knotted at 1-1.
Just minutes into the second half, Canyon’s Longino Valencia was shown a yellow card after a late tackle on a Channel Islands player. Less than a minute later, another yellow card was issued.
Trying to get the ball just inside the 18-yard box, Canyon’s goalkeeper Chase Moynihan rushed to grab the ball and was accosted by a Raiders player.
Laying on the ground for several minutes, Moynihan was able to walk off on his own power, but had to exit the game as a precaution. He will be evaluated later today.
Patrick Brayman replaced Moynihan in between the posts.
Minutes later, trying to clear a ball, a Canyon defender passed the ball back to Brayman who misjudged the ball and allowed a Channel Islands player to get the ball first and tap in the go-ahead goal.
Trying to create scoring opportunities, Canyon was able to push numbers up.
Winning a ball, Canyon’s Chris Amaya spotted the Channel Islands goalkeeper off his line. In a blink of an eye, Amaya spotted up from about 40 yards out from the goal and chipped a beautifully placed ball in the back of the net, tying the game 2-2.
“I saw my forwards press and the goalie kicked it and it went straight to me,” Amaya said. “I saw my opportunity because the goalie came off his line so I just took it and kind of like a miracle, it went in. It was just lucky.”
The game-tying goal was short lived as the Raiders scored their third and final goal of the game as Daniel Ipatzi curved a ball into the top right corner sealing the win for Channel Islands.
“We had some chances and we gave them a silly goal with the handball call,” Benavidez said. “There were some things that we could have done better to minimize their opportunities.”
Canyon played Knight at 3:30 p.m. at Canyon High School, dropping the game 1-0. Canyon will play Lawndale in its third game of group play tomorrow at 8 a.m. at Canyon High School and will play again later in the day depending on the result.