By Fred J. Robledo, Staff Writer
There were so many free runs on goal for Ganesha High striker Luis Flores it was almost surprising he didn’t score more. Flores scored three goals in a 4-2 victory over defending Montview League champion Sierra Vista to help the Giants remain in sole possession of first on Thursday. (To continue, click thread)
Sierra Vista (11-4-2, 6-1-1) was playing without starting sweeper Alex Espinoza (family reasons) and they paid for it, looking confused on the backline and failing time after time to run a successful offside trap.
Flores took what the Dons gave him, hovering just past midfield and looking for through balls to chase down. Though he finished with three, he missed five other breakaway opportunities that could have really put the game out of reach.
In any case, Flores recorded a hat trick and raised his season total to 18 goals as the Giants improved to 10-5-1 and 8-0 in the Montview.
“When I see a team playing me (tight) like that, it pumps you all up,” Flores said. “You have to give props to my team for feeding me the ball, but each time I see it (ball) go through I’m keeping my head down and looking to finish.
“Today was a good day, we’re new to this league and they’re the defending champs. This was the one we had to have.”
Ganesha took a 1-0 lead after a Sierra Vista hand ball led to a penalty kick, which
Giants forward Jesus Laguna finished for a 1-0 lead in the sixth minute.
After Giovanni Munoz tied the score in the 29th minute, the Giants took the lead back seconds later.
Munoz beat a trap on a through pass then dribbled around Dons goalkeeper Rigoberto Moreno before finishing for a 2-1 lead.
“We didn’t even get a chance to finish celebrating when they scored again,” Dons coach Jose Rodriguez said. “Without our starting sweeper we had to make some adjustments, but as you can see we gave them too much space. “Don’t get me wrong, they’re a great time, but you can’t give a team that many chances and win, it’s just too hard.”
Ganesha stretched its lead to 3-1 in the 49th minute following Abraham Garcia’s 40-yard pass to Flores on the dead run, which he finished on a beautifully placed ball inside the left netting.
The Dons didn’t go away, Jose Contreas heading home Armando Rodriguez’s cross in the 52nd minute to trim the Giants’ lead to 3-2.
But the goal of the match came late, Vicente Galvan breaking free down the right side and crossing the ball in front for Flores, who headed it home in the 78th minute to ice the game.
“Luis is a one of a kind player,” Ganesha coach Damian Galvan said. “He’s so opportunistic, sometimes I’m in amazement how he puts them in.
“But for our team, this was huge because we had a rough preseason and I told our guys to learn from it and that our voices would be heard in league. With this win, it puts us in pretty good position to be league champs.”