SAN BERNARDINO – San Gorgonio boys soccer coach Adrian Villalobos wanted his team to be aggressive against Grand Terrace on Wednesday, but he also wanted the Spartans to shore up their defense.
The aggressive part came quickly. Jamil “Gootie” Gutierrez chipped in a shot in the sixth minute for San Gorgonio, while Edwin Lopez’s header from an excellent cross by Emiliano Inzunza gave the Spartans a 2-0 advantage with 20 minutes gone. That proved to be the final score.
Inzunza made an impressive fake near the end line, giving a clear pass to Lopez. The sophomore has made a positive impression on Villalobos.
“He’s one of the shortest players on the field, but he plays big,” Villalobos said. “He’s the engine of our team and he fights for every ball.”
Maintaining a clean sheet was a notable accomplishment for San Gorgonio (15-2-1, 2-0), which extended its unbeaten streak to 14 games.
“I told the team that early in the winning streak we had a number of shutouts,” Villalobos said. “We gave up some ugly goals and I really wanted to go back to earlier in the year and get a clean sheet.”
The shutout was the first for San Gorgonio since it beat Patriot 5-0 on Dec. 22. The Spartans’ unbeaten streak started in early December with a stretch of four games where they did not allow a goal.
“We wanted to come out aggressive because they are a really good team,” said Villalobos, a Spanish teacher at San Gorgonio who is in his 16th year as the team’s coach.
Grand Terrace, which is 1-1 in the league, was thrown off track by the two quick goals.
“It was a hard-fought game and they took us out of our game plan,” Grand Terrace coach Matt Fisher said. “We gave up the midfield too much.”
Fisher said his team didn’t finish the opportunities it had.
Grand Terrace goalkeeper Juan De Los Santos kept his team close with some excellent second-half saves. The best of them came with about five minutes left when he stopped a shot just under the crossbar.
“We wanted to get some more goals and put them away,” Villalobos said. ”It seemed like we didn’t make connections in the final third of the field. We seemed to be a little sloppy and we might have relaxed a bit and they gained momentum.”
San Gorgonio faces another Skyline League challenge Friday when it plays at Rim of the World. Villalobos said rainy weather is always a concern when a team goes up on the mountain.