A second half goal by Sunny Hills forward Bronny Toledo was just enough to lead the Lancers to a 1-0 victory over rivals Troy.
Toledo was an offensive target and playmaker for the Lancers early and often.
The junior forward not only tested Troy goalkeeper Luis Garcia throughout the half, but also set up scoring opportunities for teammates by consistently crossing into the Warriors penalty box within their final third.
The Lancers (15-6-1, 5-1) as a whole controlled the flow of the majority of the first half hour of the game through quick build up passing in Troy’s half.
Due to Sunny Hills quick build up play and offensive play which culminated in scoring opportunities in the penalty box, Troy defenders had little options but to clear the ball or send it up field where it more often than not would be recovered by the Lancers.
Though Sunny Hills had more scoring chances in the first half, the Warriors were very close to taking the lead early in the game.
Troy (1-14-4, 0-7) almost took the lead when Lancers goalkeeper Eduardo Echeverria had trouble controlling a pass from a defender.
Echeverria lost control of the pass in the penalty box and Troy forward Manuel Tovar was there to send it towards goal.
Tovar’s one-touch shot flew just over the Lancers open goal and the score line remained unchanged.
The final minutes of the first half were more even than the opening 30 minutes.
Troy attempted a few crosses near the end of the half and had more possession than before, but could not get many chances in the penalty box due to a disciplined defensive setup by Sunny Hills.
The game returned to being played mostly in Warrior territory in the opening minutes of the second half.
Offensive pressure by the Lancers led to constant cross clearances and goal kicks by Troy in the first 15 minutes of the half.
The Lancers did not go long without their second half offensive play going unrewarded.
In the first 10 minutes of the half a dribble that originated near midfield by Toledo culminated in the go ahead goal for Sunny Hills.
Once he received the ball Toledo took off down the side and rapidly made his way past oncoming Troy defenders.
The forward entered the penalty box with only the Warriors goalkeeper Garcia between him and the goal.
As Garcia came out of his goal to challenge Toledo, the junior sent a shot off the inside of the post which deflected into the goal to put the Lancers up 1-0.
The Lancers continued to test Garcia after the goal and would have extended their lead if not for the sophomore’s efforts.
The Lancers were through on goal once more when a pass by Toledo setup a one on one opportunity for midfielder Giovanni Ortiz.
Ortiz’s strike from inside the box was parried away from the goal by a well-positioned Garcia who had come out of his goal to try to cut off the midfielder’s angle.
As the half transpired the Warriors kept more of the ball than in the opening minutes of the half and raised their offensive efforts.
Troy utilized long throw-ins into the Lancers penalty box on more in a few occasions in the half, but rarely did they amount to clear opportunities.
Though playing through the air didn’t result in many clear chances for Troy, two particular plays through the air almost tied the game up.
The Warriors came within a few feet of equalizing the game when a Jason Yoon header towards the goal from inside the penalty box was cleared by a header from a jumping Lancers player in front of the goal line.
Just a few moments later Troy came close to evening up the score up again.
A corner kick met by a powerful header from a Warriors player forced Lancers goalkeeper Echeverria into a stretching save that sent the ball just over the goal and off the top of the crossbar.
Although momentum began to shift to the Warriors after their two close scoring opportunities, they could not find an equalizer in the final minutes to extend the game.
“The first time around against Sunny, it was tougher, and I think we made it more difficult for them this time. They got a good shot on goal but I thought we played well,” said Troy Head Coach Lester Maldonado.
“It was a good even game both teams played hard,” said Sunny Hills Head Coach Mike Schade, who also said that he felt that the team played with good energy and less selfishly than in Mondays loss to Fullerton.
Troy will seek to win their first Freeway League game of the season when they host Fullerton on Friday. Sunny Hills will look to continue their winning ways in their next game against Sonora at home on Friday.