Hart boys’ soccer (2-1-1) defeated the visiting Monroe Vikings (0-2), 4-0, in their Wednesday non-league matchup.
The win was the Indians’ second shutout this season with another impressive performance from the back line and goalkeeper Marco Gonzalez.
Hart kept the pressure high to start and persistently kept the ball in Viking territory.
Monroe would then start to answer with pressure of their own and kept the Indian attack at ease.
However, at the 27-minute mark, reigning Foothill League Player of the Year Trenton Rickard fired in the first goal. Rickard rocketed a free kick from about 40 yards out that took a good bounce past the Monroe goalkeeper.
The Indians turned up the pressure after each goal. Three minutes later, Hart’s Nicholas Hernandez drove the ball down the left side of the field and fired in a cross just in front of the goal. The ball would deflect off a Monroe defender into the back of the net to make it 2-0 Hart.
The team nearly had a chance to go up 3-0 just before the halftime break with Indians forward Gustavo Valadez being awarded a penalty kick. Valadez fired to the left but the near-third goal was just tipped out by the keeper.
Gonzalez would be a lot busier in the second half as the Vikings started getting more aggressive. The keeper made a great save at the 50-minute mark before saving a PK of his own.
“I saw him looking to my left so I knew he was going to my right,” said Gonzalez. “I went that side, did a little stutter step to my left and went to the right and I got it.”
The save was a momentum swing for Hart, which made it 3-0 shortly after. Valadez checked back into the game and in less than a minute netted the Indians’ third goal of the day. The forward was called offside a handful of times to start the game but finally broke free at the right time on a good pass from midfield.
The Monroe defense was doing everything in its power to keep the team alive but Hart kept fighting back harder. A deflected shot on goal from Rickard bounced straight to Indians’ senior Andy Juarez, who headed in the fourth score of the day.
Hart is off to a solid start in the 2022-23 season as the program looks for its fourth consecutive league title.
“I think we’re really solid in the back,” said Gonzalez. “We didn’t have many mistakes that would lead to a goal. If there was a mistake, I’m right there. I have my defenders’ backs.”
Hart head coach Giovanni Salinas has been instilling different systems for his team this year.
“I’m trying different systems because the opponents know us and the system we’ve been playing,” said Salinas. “The last three games now we’ve been playing different systems.”
The team ran a much more aggressive attack in the second half with high pressure accumulating throughout the half. Hart has found success in doing so in the last two games.
The Indians will get the week off and prepare for their league opener at Golden Valley on Tuesday.
“To win league this year, you have to make adjustments,” said Salinas. “I think that’s what everybody else is doing in league after seeing some of the other teams out there. They’re adjusting to different styles. I think this year is going to be really competitive. It’s anyone’s game.”