By GABRIEL AGURCIA
Special to the Tribune
Alhambra’s boy’s varsity soccer team was defeated at home by Campolindo on Friday, Feb. 5, by a score of 1-0.
The Bulldogs came out a bit sluggish and out of sync, which the Cougars tried to take advantage of. Unable to get into a passing rhythm, Alhambra was forced to defend most of the first half.
Campolindo’s first real threat came eight minutes in when Cougar forward Rupert Dusauzay received a through-pass and flicked a shot, which Alhambra keeper José Diaz knocked away.
Campolindo had a free kick on the outskirts of Diaz’ 18-yard box, but Diaz grabbed it easily.
But in the 19th minute, Diaz was challenged with a close range shot, diving to his right for a save.
The Cougars came right back in only a minute when midfielder Matthew Ringquist fired a shot off the crossbar, with Diaz leaping to protect the net. The ball ricocheted to Dusauzay who struck one to the upper left. Diaz hopped up quickly and dove to his right to knock the ball away, then stretched to tap it out of bounds for a corner kick.
The Cougars finally broke through in the 22nd minute, thanks in part to an Alhambra error. The ball was volleyed backward to Bulldog senior Blake Johnson who misjudged it, allowing Dusauzay to sprint past him and set up a 1-on-1 with Diaz, who he beat with a shot to the lower right corner. Campolindo took the lead 1-0.Alhambra got it’s only solid attempt at goal in the 25th minute, when defender Anthony Haefke chipped a great pass to fellow defender Robert Viano, who misplayed the ball. Ringquist took advantage, taking the ball and rushing up the sideline, striking a shot from about 30 yards that Diaz once again made a great save on.
Diaz made a couple more saves before halftime, and Campolindo took a 1-0 lead into the break.
Alhambra came out more aggressive in the second half, holding onto the ball and keeping Campolindo’s defense active.
Bulldog forward Raul Mosqueda made a nice strike off a set piece in the 48th minute, but he placed it a little high and away.
Alhambra continued to get into deep Cougar territory but couldn’t get quality shots. Ringquist had the final threatening shot of the game for either side at the 54th, chasing down a deflected ball and cracking one off the crossbar yet again.
Although it seemed Alhambra was simply over matched, head coach Rory Gentry gave more insight into his team’s performance.
“We’ve got three guys out with concussions. We’ve got four of our guys on the field playing on one leg, so were going to be a little out of sorts.”
Gentry wasn’t making excuses for his team, and he was pleased with their ability to recover quickly. “We never got beat on two-balls. We may have gotten beat on the first one but we never got beat on the second one.”
On a positive note, Diaz received high praise from his coach. “Our goalkeeper José Diaz had an amazing game. I can think of three or four shots they had that were really close to going in, that he made a hell of a save on. He was the difference in the game for us tonight.”