By Kevin Park
Photos by Jenny Luo
Despite multiple injuries, one prompting paramedics, the boys’ varsity soccer team fought through the struggles and defeated the La Canada Spartans on Friday, January 16. Down by a goal in the beginning of the second half, the team came back to win 2-1 in a hard-fought showing of heart. The Tigers now stand at 2-0 in league.
“[The win] was well earned. We put a lot of fight into it so we came out on top,” sophomore Kevin Foster said.
In the first half, the Spartans maintained possession, missing very close opportunities, but exposing the Tiger’s defense. The Tigers responded with their own run on offense. In result of a very physical game, senior mid Ramon Gutierrez was awarded a free kick far beyond the box. He tried a shot, but missed a little high. A collection of passes led to another opportunity, starting with senior Kevin Yonami to Gutierrez to senior striker Jordan Jackmon in the box, which Jackmon shot but missed right of the goal.
Later in the 1st, La Canada had a throw-in which was headed right off the post straight into the hands of senior goalie Sam Hoadley-Brill. Another throw-in was given to La Canada, this time it ended up in the back of the net, headed in by a Spartan to give them the lead in the 1st. At the end of one, the Tigers were down 0-1.
The second quarter began and the Spartans were in the same situation. They took the same throw-in try for a goal on a header, but this time it missed too high. Gutierrez received a through ball up top and took a shot, but missed wide. Then Jackmon, who was looking to compliment his hat trick last game, had another breakaway and beat his defender. Jackmon sliced the ball across the goalie for a goal for the equalizer. Now 1-1, the momentum shifted as South Pasadena kept attacking and tried to take advantage of their opportunities.
Senior Aydin Pasebani dribbled the ball down the field and placed a great pass to junior striker James Tulin’s feet, which he laced into the goal. This gave the Tigers the lead, 2-1. Unfortunately a few plays later, a La Canada player went for a bicycle kick in the box and connected with senior captain Patrick Nelson‘s head. He had to sit for the rest of the game and called for more serious attention, which led to the ambulance to come. Later Hoadley-Brill hurt himself saving the ball in a tight situation. Despite the injuries, the Tigers came away with the win.
“The play leading up to the goal was fantastic, Aydin’s cross was really good. Once I saw the ball go in the goal I couldn’t believe it, I just heard the crowd go crazy and same with the rest of my team,” Tulin said
The Tiger’s next league game will be at home on Wednesday on January 21 when they take on Temple City.
“The fact that we came back and fought for the win is great, but the injury to Patrick put a damper on the whole game,” senior back Oscar Jaime said. “The guys on the bench came in and stepped up when we needed them too. It’s great that we were able to turn around the results from preseason and put the extra effort to start strong.”