PALMDALE — The Palmdale boys soccer team wanted to jump out to a quick start to their first-round playoff game on Thursday, to establish momentum and the tempo in the match.
The Falcons accomplished that and so much more, scoring two goals in the first 13 minutes and cruising to a 6-2 victory over Sierra Vista in a CIF-Southern Section Division 4 first-round playoff match at Palmdale High.
“This is a great start to the playoffs,” Palmdale coach Christian Hernandez said. “This is what you want. A good start and great chances at scoring, so it’s a perfect start if you want to make a run.
“You set the tempo for the game once you go up like that. Once you have a cushion of goals, you can keep the tempo the way you want it. Whether you can go fast or slow down. We were going fast at times, slowing it down. We’re very technical in the middle. We’re always looking to improve.”
Palmdale junior Jorge Solorzano gave the Falcons a quick lead, scoring on a free kick from 17 yards out in the seventh minute.
Freshman Juan Pablo Garcia had a shot deflected in the 11th minute, but senior Juan Carlos Lopez scored in the 13th minute, on a chip shot from five-yards out on a cross from Solorzano.
“I feel we came out with the right energy,” said Lopez, a three-year varsity player. “We made a few mistakes, but we made up for it. It’s important to get us a head start, not so we can sit back, but so we can wake up and play harder throughout the game.
“We try to play the ball quick, moving around to whoever is open and get the best you can out on this field. It’s been a strength, moving the ball around and scoring goals. We do miss a couple, but we did what we had to today.”
Lopez finished with a hat trick and had a shot sail wide right on the 14th minute.
Lopez scored on a chip shot from five yards out in the 23rd minute to give the Falcons a 3-0 halftime lead.
“It was very important. It sets the tone for the game,” Trujillo said of the fast start. “It sets our tone for how we’re going to deal with situations, if we’re up. Good thing we started up 3-0. We set our tone coming into the second half.”
The match had a fast-paced tempo throughout and got more physical in the second half, leading to two penalty shots, one for each side.
Palmdale senior Brian Trujillo, a four-year varsity player, converted a penalty kick early in the second half, in the 47th minute to give Palmdale a 4-0 lead.
“We feel great. It was a very positive outcome and we’re ready for the next one,” Trujillo said. “We were pretty fired up, knowing that we were home and it’s the first game of the playoffs. We knew we had to come out and showcase for everyone here and our coaches.
“On this turf, it was going to be fast paced. We practice on this everyday. We’re pretty much used to it, so we made them adapt to it.”
Sierra Vista junior Sebastdian Gutierrez scored on a penalty kick in the 50th minute for the Dons (7-4-2), the third-place team from the Montview League.
Lopez scored again the 67th minute and Trujillo scored again in the 77th minute, on a spectacular shot from 30 yards out that ignited the crowd and his teammates.
Trujillo turned and shrugged at the crowd as the Falcons took a 6-1 lead.
The Dons added a goal in the 76th minute by senior Christopher Rodriguez.
Palmdale senior goalie Jesse Ramos had several saves for the Falcons, who also had a standout performance by their defense.
Palmdale (11-0-4) is the Golden League champion and the No. 2 seed in Division 4.
The Falcons will face the winner of Thursday’s Crescenta Valley/Eleanor Roosevelt first-round match in the second round on Saturday. Palmdale advanced to the quarterfinals last season.
“We’ve got experienced players that went to the playoffs last year and it was a very heartbreaking ending,” Hernandez said. “These guys remember that. The experienced juniors and seniors, they don’t want to go through that again. They’re giving their all. They’re playing every game like it’s their last and in the playoffs, it is that way. You lose and you go home.”
Lopez said the finish to last season helped prepare them for the first-round match.
“It was the experience and the energy around the game in the beginning, because we don’t want another heartbreak loss like last year,” Lopez said.