Down a goal, Canyon boys soccer battled back and responded by scoring two goals, one in the waning minutes of the contest, against West Ranch to escape with a 2-1 road win for their first league win on Tuesday.
Isaac Salinas and Jarrett Reeser came up with timely goals and pushed the Cowboys past the Wildcats for the win.
West Ranch (2-4-1 overall, 0-1 Foothill League) came out of the gates on fire under the direction of first-year head coach Mike Kane and dominated the time of possession through the game’s opening minutes.
Junior forward Joshua Swanson provided elite dribbling skills with his length and elusiveness on the right flank, while Elijah Beaubien, who was opposite to Swanson, wasn’t scared to get a little physical with Canyon defenders to try and catch them flat-footed.
Taking a 1-0 lead 12 minutes into the match, Daniel Bebekien lined up for a direct free kick from about 25 or 30 yards out. There was never any doubt as hit shot sailed into the top left corner.
“Their goal, hats off to the kid,” said Canyon head coach Robert Benavidez. “It was a banger on a direct free kick, but that’s been our Achilles’ heel. All year we have been giving up set plays and long throw-ins.”
West Ranch’s defense did a sound job of disrupting the Canyon attack by harassing Tyler Mora and Jeremy Saldana. But just before the end of the half, Edward Quijano took a free kick that almost trickled in to tie the game, but West Ranch goalkeeper Ethan Durfee controlled the shot.
Changing up tactics at the half, the Cowboys focused on moving the ball from East to West to create more opportunities.
After a Canyon player was taken down inside West Ranch’s penalty box in the 57th minute, Salinas lined up to take the penalty kick for the Wildcats. His initial shot was saved by Durfee, but the rebound landed near his feet, which he put away for the game-tying goal.
With the score at 1-1, neither team seemed to be content with the score and continued to press and profusely send numbers up for the final minutes.
Calling for the quick pass off a counterattack with under a minute left in the contest, Canyon’s Reeser spotted his chance and made a beeline towards the Wildcats’ goal.
“I wanted them to play fast because if they waited for people to get back I knew that it would be tough to score,” Reeser said. “I told them to play it, play it, play it and I made the through run.”
Controlling the ball, Reeser went 1-v-1 with a West Ranch defender and as Durfee came off his line, took a shot that nestled into the side netting giving the Cowboys their first lead of the game and the first league victory.
“After they scored the second goal, I thought there was still a little fight from us and that’s all I ask for,” said West Ranch head coach Mike Kane. “We are getting unlucky and haven’t caught a break, not that it’s an excuse. We play extremely hard and we can’t seem to catch a break.”
The team picks up league action on Thursday as West Ranch heads out on the road to battle Saugus and Canyon hosts Golden Valley. Both games start at 3:15 p.m.
Hart 4, Golden Valley 0
Hart’s (11-1 overall, 1-0 Foothill League) Jared Soriano and Nicholas Woll each scored on a rebound.
Ryan Lopez was assisted on a goal by Edilson Ramirez and Joseph Ochoa assisted Lawrence Luna on the last goal.
Golden Valley (6-4-1, 0-1) hosts Canyon and Hart hosts Valencia on Thursday. Both games start at 3:15 p.m.
Valencia 1, Saugus 0
The Vikings improve to 3-3-2 overall and 1-0 in Foothill League play. Saugus is 6-4 and 0-1 and next plays West Ranch on Friday at 3:15.