Traveling southwest, Saugus boys soccer played Westlake on Wednesday in a non-league game.
Saugus (3-2-1) played Westlake (2-2-2) for the second time in less than two weeks, tying 1-1 in the Burroughs Tournament at Crespi. The Centurions were able to secure the victory the second time around, winning 3-1.
“The most important thing for us right now is preparing for league,” said Saugus head coach Seth Groller. “Just using this as the last game before league starts up on Friday to kind of make sure we are doing things properly.”
In the early going, Colby Bangasser, Alec Fryer and Dionicio Flores were able to keep the Warriors’ defense on their heels playing off each other and making threatening runs down the right side of the pitch.
Breaking through in the 11th minute, Roger Sandino won a ball in Saugus’ defensive half and dribbled past midfield. Sandino lost the ball, but in a stroke of luck as the Westlake defender tried to attempt a pass back to the goalie, Dylan Sullivan saw his opportunity and pounced.
Getting to the ball first, Sullivan controlled it and netted the game’s first goal.
“This goal was a little different because the other team pretty much gave it to me with that pass back and I just put it in the back of the net,” Sullivan said.
Playing with the lead, Saugus’ backline deterred every run, through pass and free kick that Westlake attempted.
With under 10 minutes to go in the half, a sequence of plays almost resulted in a Westlake goal on a free kick from about 25-yards out, but Saugus’ goalkeeper Robert Hofferber was able to get a hand on it, punching the ball out of bounds which resulted in a corner kick that Saugus easily cleared.
Heading into halftime, Saugus held a 1-0 lead.
Westlake began the second half vying to get the first half goal back, but thanks to the stout backline defense led by Sandino and Bangasser, the Cents were able to keep the Warriors at bay.
With 15 minutes remaining in the game, Flores made a run down the right side of the pitch into the Warriors defensive half. Collecting himself and settling the ball, Flores scored, putting the ball in the bottom left corner for Saugus.
“Honestly, it was like a team effort thing,” Flores said. “I just kind of did my job well. I have to give credit to all my teammates.”
Putting tremendous pressure on the Westlake players throughout the game, Saugus tired is opponents out and it showed on Saugus’ final goal.
Trying to clear a ball inside its own 18-yard box, Westlake’s goalkeeper nonchalantly assumed that Flores was going to back off, but he was wrong. In a blink of an eye, Flores ran full speed toward the ball. Flores’ initial shot was blocked and the ball ricocheted off of himself as it bounced into the back of the net, giving Saugus a 3-0 lead with just under six minutes to play.
“When I’m pressuring them I just think to myself that if I don’t pressure them, then they are going to get away with whatever they are going to do,” Flores said. “…but if I do pressure them then I’m able to take the ball away from them and score just liked I did for the second one.”
Westlake was able to net a 20-yard free kick in garbage time to salvage a 3-1 defeat.
Saugus opens up Foothill League play at home against Valencia on Friday at 3:15 p.m.