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Foothill League boys soccer: Last-minute leaders

Late goal moves Canyon into first place

Posted: January 21, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: January 21, 2012 1:55 a.m.

Canyon midfielder Daniel Foster, second from left, celebrates with teammates after scoring the game-winning goal against Golden Valley on Friday at Golden Valley High.

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This one could have been difficult to explain.

With as many chances as Foothill League-leading Canyon boys soccer had to take the upper hand against last-place Golden Valley, the Cowboys were still without a goal headed into the final two minutes.

Junior midfielder Daniel Foster’s goal in stoppage time helped Canyon avoid a letdown and escape with a 1-0 win on Friday at Golden Valley High.

“Things weren’t going the way we wanted,” Foster said. “We turned on each other and got a little frustrated, but we were lucky to get out of here with a win.”

The goal was set up by Brandon Davy’s corner kick — the ninth of the day for the Cowboys — which he sent into the box, where it was then kicked around in a crowd of players from both teams before squirting out toward Foster.

Without hesitation, he went after the ball and nailed it into the right side of the goal with 1:30 to play.

“We pushed everything forward,” Foster said. “I just saw an opening and took a shot.”

The shot helped Canyon (6-4-2, 3-0-1) move into outright first place when combined with West Ranch’s 2-2 tie with Saugus on Friday, while the Grizzlies (2-13-0, 0-4-0) are still without a victory or a goal in Foothill play.

Yet still, for more than 78 minutes, Golden Valley went toe-to-toe with Canyon and played relentless defense to stop almost every promising scoring opportunity.

“This is definitely a boost to our confidence,” said Golden Valley head coach Fausto Arana. “It’s good but it’s not, by all means, like we’ve arrived.”

In the midfield, the Cowboys outplayed Golden Valley for most of the 50-50 balls and as a result, Canyon was on the attack most of the way with its forwards A.J. Rochow and Chad Ybarra.

But each time the pressure was put on the Grizzlies’ backline, they held up.

Defenders Grant Effeldt and Devin Forbes took care of things in the middle for Golden Valley while Caesar Romo and Josh Torres were clearing balls out of danger on the outside.

In the end, Canyon fired 12 shots on Golden Valley’s goal, but most of them didn’t pose much of a threat for Grizzlies goalkeeper Fernando Lauchu, who totaled four saves in the game.

“Golden Valley outplayed us,” admitted Canyon head coach Khris Savage. “We didn’t have our A game whatsoever. We were really, really lucky to get one in.”

On the other end, Canyon played its own version of stifling defense, allowing the Grizzlies just five shots on the day and making it difficult for anything to develop for the struggling offense.

As the game wore on, the ball went up in the air a lot more as both teams started looking for long breakaways.

Rochow came closest to converting one breakaway with 28 minutes left when he fired a shot off the top crossbar.

That was the last time either team came close until the game-winner in the closing minutes.

“At least we came out with three points,” Savage said of the win.

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