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The inside track

Canyon boys soccer takes commanding lead in the Foothill League

Posted: February 3, 2009 10:04 p.m.
Updated: February 4, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Golden Valley boys soccer had the opportunity to take first place in the Foothill League on Tuesday night, potentially the last opportunity anyone had to catch the Cowboys.

However, a Juan Munoz strike in the 58th minute gave Canyon a 1-0 win at Harry Welch Stadium and the inside track to a league title.

The win gives the Cowboys 16 points in league play.

Their closest competition remains Golden Valley (9-7-2, 3-2-2) and its 11 points with only three games left to play.

Canyon (9-7-2, 5-1-1) had to withstand a Grizzly onslaught in the final 10 minutes, including a flurry in front of the net in which Cowboys goalkeeper Andrew Wilson deflected a shot from point-blank range.

The rebound landed at the feet of a mob of Grizzlies and the ball shot out opposite net from Wilson. However, Sipriano Virgil was there to protect the open goal and kicked the ball out.

Wilson then plucked the ball out of the air on the ensuing corner kick.

"If he doesn't get keeper of the year for that game...," said Canyon head coach Khris Savage shaking his head in amazement. "He had three saves in seven seconds."

Savage gave player of the game honors to Jose Perez, who was starting his first game in front of his ill father.

Seemingly reverent, Savage gave Perez credit for his key passes and hard play amid such emotional hardship.

With both teams playing to a stalemate at the half, Golden Valley head coach Phil Lopez knew his team could not let down.

"The game hinges on a break this way and a break that way," Lopez said. "I'm proud of these boys. They are really hanging their heads low, but they played hard. I'm just so proud."

The Grizzlies could not break through the Canyon defense, led by sweeper Shaun McLaughlin's strong play.

Despite multiple opportunities from Golden Valley's Andy Ruiz and Tim Stanley, the defense held.

The first half belonged to the Grizzlies early as Ruiz just missed on several goal-scoring opportunities, but the momentum turned in favor of Canyon late in the half.

Canyon's Richmond Sam and Munoz had chances right in front of the net set up by Darwin Ortiz, but could not find their finishing touch.

Finally breaking the scoring draught, midfielder Alex McCaslin sent a ball up the sideline to Vincent Donato, who set up the Munoz goal.

Golden Valley's Bino Horne and Canyon's Jared Jens both had standout performances.

The Cowboys will look to continue their winning ways on Friday when they travel to Hart while Golden Valley hosts Saugus.


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