Canyon boys’ soccer (1-0, 1-0) had an offensive explosion in its first game of the season.
The Cowboys took down the hosting West Ranch (1-1, 0-1) on Thursday with a 5-3 victory.
Senior midfielder Andrew Montes shined in the loss for West Ranch with a hat trick in his Foothill League opener.
Canyon forward Marlon Tadeo led the Cowboys with a two-goal performance.
The Wildcats came out strong, beating Canyon to every ball and creating a ton of offense early. Montes would put the Cats up 1-0 in the third minute with his first goal.
Montes headed in a great cross from Neshan Vardanyan and it looked like West Ranch would run wild early.
“In the first 10 minutes, we looked great,” said Cats head coach Mike Kane. “We were putting more than three passes together. We were having good possession and we go up 1-0. But hey, soccer is an 80-minute game, so you have to play hard for 80 minutes. We have to learn to do that.”
Canyon head coach Robert Benavidez told his team after about 10 minutes that West Ranch was simply outworking them. A little extra effort would help the Cowboys enter and take this game.
“Our energy level was extremely low in my opinion,” said Benavidez. “That’s why I yelled out, ‘Hey, we got to match their energy.’ And we did. We created some opportunities and we capitalized. We were able to get some goals and turn the tide.”
Canyon settled in and started creating chances instantly. Quick counters and accurate long passes from the midfield fueled the Cowboys’ offense on its way to a five-piece.
Forward Marcus Toney sent a cross into play in the middle, giving Tadeo the perfect chance to tie the game up and the senior delivered at the 16-minute mark.
The Cowboys would snag the lead they’d never lose less than a minute later. Senior Aaron Ramos stole the ball while West Ranch was resetting and found the back of the net to go up 2-1.
West Ranch would get close to tying the game but the Canyon backline was able to keep making plays. Canyon right back Gilberto Roque made a great play on the sideline to end a Cats’ push. The clearout would set up the Cowboys’ third goal via a long bomb from senior Joshua Arellanes.
The Cats started the second half with the same intensity as the first. This time, the Cowboys were ready.
Montes netted his second of the day off a free kick to cut the lead back to one. Canyon would again immediately respond.
Ramos hit midfielder Vincent Guerra, who knocked in the fourth goal of the day.
Tadeo would seal the win in the 71st minute. As the Cowboys were threatening to score, a bad clearout from West Ranch fell right in Tadeo’s lap for an easy strike.
“My worry always as a coach is, in good soccer matches, like when we play in our league, you’re only going to get so many opportunities, so you have to bury those opportunities,” said Benavidez. “Tonight, fortunately we buried more than West Ranch.”
The Cats never said die and kept fighting until the final whistle.
Montes was awarded a penalty kick and notched his hat trick at the 75-minute mark. The senior’s hat trick was spoiled in a 5-3 loss but Montes is again looking strong early and will likely be a goal machine for the Cats.
“Their work ethic on the field, they play hard, and as a coach you can’t ask for anything more,” said Kane. “If they’re working hard on the field, good things should happen.”
West Ranch will be back in league action on Tuesday when the team heads to Saugus (1-0-1, 1-0) at 3:15 p.m.
Canyon is off to the start it wanted even with no preseason games or scrimmages to shake off the rust. The Cowboys will look to make it two in a row on Thursday when the group returns home to host Golden Valley (4-2, 1-0).
“So overall, yeah, I’m happy we got a W,” said Benavidez. “I’m pleased with our effort but there’s things that we can clean up and make us a little bit more efficient.”