Boys Soccer: Balboa remains undefeated with shutout of SFI

Balboa's Mario Leyva sends a ball into the penalty area against SFI on Tuesaday at the Crocker Amazon Soccer Fields. (Photo by Devin Chen)

By Ryan Kuhn

For the second straight game, the Balboa High School boys soccer team shut out its opponent at the Crocker Amazon Soccer Fields.

The Buccaneers got out to an early lead and never looked back as they defeated San Francisco International High School 2-0 in Academic Athletic Association play on Tuesday.

Balboa's Cesar Morales (left) battles for position with SFI's Daniel Hernandez (right) on Tuesday at the Crocker Amazon Soccer Fields. (Photo by Devin Chen)

Balboa head coach Wentworth Houston was impressed with his team’s defense and chemistry on the field.

“What’s happening is the experience of our defenders,” Houston said. “They are starting to know each other and read each other well. Our goalkeeper is doing a lot more talking to make them aware on who they have on their back.”

Turning up the intensity on defense has also helped the team’s offense.

“It helps the midfielders and the forwards being a little more confident [so] that they can [field] their positions better,” Houston said.

Balboa (4-0) got off to an early start in the eighth minute when senior forward Erick Rubio-Arriola scored on a pass by fellow forward Nathan Tom to put Balboa up 1-0.

Rubio-Arriola knew what he had to do when he saw an opening.

“I was just thinking I have to put it in,” he said.

Balboa controlled the ball for the majority of the game, keeping SFI’s defense on its heels. Late in the first half, the Huskies made a charge toward the goal, but sophomore Chan Pong Chong’s shot was blocked by the Balboa goalkeeper.

SFI (1-1-1) had more opportunities to score in the first half, but Balboa regained control, doubling its score on a header by Mario Leyva off Alvaro Gomez’s corner kick in the 53rd minute.

It was the first loss of the young season for a new program led by coach Brandon Garinger.

Balboa's Erick Rubio (left) and Manuel Sola (right) race for a loose ball on Tuesday at the Crocker Amazon Soccer Fields. (Photo by Devin Chen)

“We are missing a little bit of game experience,” Garinger said. “We are a new program and I thought we sort of had a slow start. We need to start a little bit sharper and a little bit quicker. I thought that had a real effect on the game.”

Although soccer might not be new to San Francisco International High School’s student-athletes, this is the first year the school has had varsity athletic teams and been a member of the AAA.

As for Balboa, the Buccaneers look to improve on their perfect record.

“This game let us know that we have the talent and that we certainly can’t be big-headed,” Houston said. “We are confident knowing that we are ready to go to the next level.”

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