In a Foothill League rivalry game, Canyon boys soccer traveled to Newhall to take on Hart, the defending Foothill League champions, on Tuesday.
Sitting atop the league standings, Canyon was the aggressor in the first half. The Cowboys spent most of the half in Hart territory, but couldn’t put one in the back of the net as both teams drew to a 0-0 tie.
“At times we looked good and created some scoring opps,” said Canyon head coach Robert Benavidez. “In the second, we didn’t put a lot of shots on frame to test their goalkeeper and at times we had an unwillingness to get the ball off our feet a little quicker.”
The Cowboys (4-6-3 overall, 2-0-1 in Foothill League) finished the game with eight shots on goal, seven of which came in the first half.
Canyon forwards Joe Lucia and Drew Leskin did all they could, heading up the Cowboys’ attack putting pressure on the Hart defenders with the ball fakes and quickness.
“We came in this game very confident,” Leskin said. “I think they were a little nervous, a little scared to begin the game so from that point on we had the advantage and just kept pushing.”
With about four minutes left in the first half, Leskin saw Hart’s goalkeeper Kevin Perez off his line and took a shot from about 40 yards out. Perez was able to get back to his line and make the diving save.
Perez finished the game with seven saves.
Moving the ball more fluidly in the second half, Hart (8-6-3, 1-0-2) was able to put more shots on goal, allowing Cameron Castañeda, Nathaniel Bello and Christian Huerta to operate freely out wide to pick and choose their points of attack.
“I think more than anything, we talked about stretching the field more and pulling them out wide and isolating them,” said Hart head coach Adonay Jovel.
With 21 minutes left in the game, Hart lined up for a corner kick. The initial pass was blocked and a mad scramble for the ball ensued with multiple shots being blocked by Canyon defenders.
Stepping in for Canyon’s starting goalkeeper Chase Moynihan, who is still out with injury, Patrick Brayman stepped in and saved a total of six shots.
Both teams seemed to know what was on the line in the closing minutes of the game, sending run after run to try and get a last-minute goal, but neither teams’ defense budged.
“You’re coming onto Hart territory, the defending Foothill champions,” Benavidez said. They are a great program and a lot of people measure how they are doing when they play Hart. Hats off to both teams, but we will walk out of here with a tie and keep our head up and be ready for Friday.”
Both teams are back in action on Friday, as Hart hosts West Ranch at 3:15 p.m. and Canyon travel to Saugus with the game time to be announced.
Saugus 3, Golden Valley 0
The Centurions’ Frank Ornelas scored two goals and Dylan Sullivan scored one. Sullivan, Justin Taylor and Roger Sandino each recorded an assist. Goalkeeper Ryan White recorded five saves. Saugus coach Seth Groller also credited Eric Johnson and Sandino with great defensive efforts.
Saugus (7-4-3, 1-1-1) next hosts Canyon while the Grizzlies (3-6-3, 0-3) host Valencia. Both games are set for 3:15.