Canyon boys’ soccer (2-0, 2-0) won its home league opener, 5-1, over Golden Valley (4-4-1, 1-2) on Thursday night.
The Cowboys were led again by senior Marlon Tadeo, who knocked in two goals for the second straight game to start his varsity career.
Canyon has only played in two games this season to the Grizzlies’ nine matches, but the Cowboys are off to a great start with two five-goal outings already.
Golden Valley nearly struck first, with a quick shot on target from Chris Hernandez. Canyon keeper Roman Johnson made a quick stop and launched the ball back downfield to set up his team’s first score.
It only took a minute but Tadeo found the back of the net on the quick Canyon counter.
The Cowboys turned up the heat after every goal and showed relentless pressure. The Grizzlies were possessing the ball and still got shots on target. However, quick counters and saves from Johnson led to the overwhelming Canyon pressure.
Midfielder Gonzalo Carrera would find forward Marcus Toney for the second goal at the 12-minute mark. Toney has been one of the faster strikers in the Foothill League and has blown by backlines to set up big plays for the Cowboys.
“We’re feeling good but we can’t be too happy,” said Toney. “We still have strong competitors [to face] in the end.”
Jacob Bertran found the back of the net off a deflection in the box just before the halftime break to go up 3-0.
“We took it to them immediately and we got that early goal,” said Canyon head coach Robert Benavidez. “Then we just kept the momentum going and I think we frustrated them from what they wanted to do from an attacking standpoint.
Johnson had to make a quick exit toward the end of the half after overextending on a play and fouling Golden Valley’s Pedro Roldan.
Defender Joshua Arrellanes was forced to swap positions briefly and was sent in between the posts to stop a Grizzly free kick.
Arrellanes came through, saving Roldan’s shot, and made the quick swap back into the midfield.
Canyon maintained its momentum throughout the second half. The team’s pressure kept the ball in play on the Grizzlies’ side of the field and would inevitably lead to more scores.
Toney notched his fifth assist of the year with a pass to Tadeo, who knocked in his second of the day.
“Our talking and how we know each other,” said Tadeo on what stands out about his group. “We know where we’re going to go and have built up trust with each other.”
Carrera was able to register his second assist of the day with a pass to senior Aaron Ramos, who made it 5-0 for Canyon.
Benavidez knows, in a tough Foothill League, you’ll only get so many opportunities to capitalize on. He couldn’t be prouder of how his entire team has started with so many contributors.
“The beauty is, so far, everyone’s contributed from the first player to the 21st player,” said Benavidez. “Everyone has contributed one way or another, whether it’s been in our two matches or when it’s been in training sessions to help our team improve as individual players. As a unit, that’s what you need.”
It’s easy to get dejected with such a large deficit but Golden Valley never quit.
Forward Chris Hernandez sent a nearly perfect cross into play in front of the net. Junior Alex Risdon was just inches away from heading in the Grizzlies’ first score, but Johnson extended enough to catch the ball and end the attack.
Hernandez would get on the board eventually with a free-kick goal for the Grizzlies’ only goal of the night.
Golden Valley has talented players all over the field but just had one of those days where the goal seems to have a lid. The Grizzlies are still in solid shape to make a run this season but now drop to 0-4 when they score one or fewer goals.
The Grizzlies will stay on the road and head to Saugus for a league matchup Thursday at 3:15 p.m.
Canyon will remain at home for a Thursday league matchup with Valencia at 3:15 p.m.