Boys Varsity Soccer · Boys Varsity Soccer beats San Mateo 4 – 1

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Here is an article from the San Mateo Daily Journal.

Panthers finish off rival
Burlingame soccer
What if the San Mateo boys’ soccer team had scored early chances? What if Burlingame didn’t score three goals in the final 15 minutes of the first half?

There was no question, however, about which the better team was Wednesday. Burlingame, the defending Peninsula Athletic League Bay Division champion, capitalized on its opportunities to beat the rival Bearcats 4-1 in a non-league match in San Mateo Wednesday afternoon.

“The first 5, 10 minutes, they were the better side,” said Burlingame head coach Anthony Dimech. “They came out a little faster and a little hungrier.”

San Mateo (3-1 overall) jumped on the Burlingame defense right away, forcing goalkeeper Jackson Kriner to make two diving saves in the first minute. The Bearcats kept up the pressure and were unlucky not to come away with a goal.

With everything else being equal, that proved to the difference in the game: the Panthers’ ability to finish when the opportunities presented themselves.

Burlingame weathered the Bearcats early onslaught and eventually worked itself into the game. The bulk of the rest of the first half was played mostly in the midfield as neither team had many threatening opportunities.

Dimech was lamenting his team’s sloppy play before a dogged effort from Araz Ordubadi paid off with Burlingame’s first goal. Ordubadi battled with a San Mateo player for control of the ball just over the midfield stripe in the Bearcats end. Ordubadi emerged from the scrum with the ball at his feet, slipping a short little diagonal pass into space on the left wing for a charging Nico Flores. He took a couple of touches before slotting a shot into the far right corner for a 1-0 lead in the 26th minute.

It seemed more of a flash goal than anything for Burlingame (3-1), as San Mateo did not seem the worse for wear. But two Panthers goals in the final two minutes of the half proved to be the turning point in the game.

It was another determined effort in the midfield that resulted in the Panthers’ second goal. Just into the game with 10 minutes left in the half, Reece Testa made a slaloming run to the top of the San Mateo penalty box, fending off a couple of challenges along the way. He found Andrew Morales open in the box, and Morales sent a shot to the far left corner for a 2-0 lead in the 38th minute.

It was the Burlingame goal a minute later that proved to be the backbreaker. Flores sent a long ball over the top of the Bearcats defense, with Morales getting through the line and winning the 1-on-1 battle with the San Mateo goalkeeper to give the Panthers a 3-0 lead at halftime.

The second half played out much like the first with most of the play spent in the midfield. San Mateo’s Geoffrey Hernandez let loose a shot from distance that bent harmlessly wide early in the second half as the Bearcats went on to outshoot Burlingame 6-4 in the half.

Four minutes after Hernandez’s attempt, the Panthers struck again. Liam Galia set up the play with a run up the left sideline, before finding Morales at the top of the San Mateo penalty box.

Flores, stationed to Morales right, yelled out, “One more” — a phrase used to indicate another pass. Morales sent a cross to Flores, who slammed his shot into the far left corner, with the ball getting wrapped up in the net and getting stuck on the back post of the goal frame.

[Flores and Morales] are just learning to play with other and understand each other,” Dimech said.

San Mateo soccer
San Mateo’s Jose Avila, front, holds off Burlingame’s Slater Bolstad.

Nathan Mollat/Daily Journal
San Mateo avoided the shutout in the 62nd minute when Djelani Phillips ran onto a long ball over the top from Luis Mora, split a pair of defenders and lofted a shot over the goalkeeper for the Bearcats’ goal.

Despite the loss, Pineda likes where his team is right now. The Bearcats are 2-0 in PAL Ocean Division play and a game against the likes of Burlingame should only make them better.

“It was a good eye-opener to see where we are,” Pineda said. “Burlingame is a very technical team. … I thought we played even with them.”