La Canada, South Pasadena soccer teams tie

By Keith Lair, Staff Writer
SOUTH PASADENA — The La Canada and South Pasadena high school boys soccer teams had multiple opportunities to win the Rio Hondo League title on Thursday afternoon.
In the end, the teams had to settle on a pair of ties. A scoreless one in the Rio Hondo League finale and as co-league champions.
South Pasadena players celebrated as if it had not happen in a long time; it had been 16 years.
“It feels amazing,” senior defender Charles Slocum said. “For four years we’ve been getting destroyed by La Canada. This feels like a win to me.”
It is the Spartans’ fourth consecutive league crown.
“It’s bittersweet,” La Canada’s Filip Franke said. “That’s all it is.”
The teams will share the league title, but South Pasadena (14-1-3, 7-0-3) will enter the CIF-Southern Section playoffs as the league’s No. 1 seed by virtue of its 2-1 victory over the Spartans [BODY](18-3-2, 8-1-1)[/BODY] two weeks ago. The pairings will be announced Sunday.
The Tigers outshot the Spartans, 9-5, and had a 9-5 advantage in corner kicks.
La Canada was missing its all-time leading scorer, Armand Bagramyan. The senior, who signed with UC Santa Barbara on Wednesday, received two yellow cards against San Marino.
It forced coach Alex Harrison to shuffle his lineup.
“We were a little bit out of character in spots that we are used to,” he said. “If we can play without Armand, throw out a guy scores 42 goals. it will be a little easier when we get him back.”
But once the Spartans settled down, they almost scored. Franke took a pass from Armaan Zare and got goalkeeper Chris Mejia to fall down chasing the ball. His shot went wide.
“I thought I had it, but all you can do is only laugh it off,” he said.
The Tigers were without top scorer Heven Gomez, who injured his ankle in Tuesday’s 1-0 win over Blair.
But the Tigers had opportunities.
Corey Keenan’s first-half shot was saved when goalkeeper Graham Labran-Boyd quick-kicked the ball. Clem Witherall nearly scored off a Zack Dunn corner kick when Labran-Boyd fell down.

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