Glendale High boys' soccer

Glendale's Narbeh Shabani chases a high bouncing ball against Pioneer in the first round of the La Cañada Soccer Tournament on Thursday. (Tim Berger/Staff Photographer) (December 26, 2013)

LA CAÑADA — Throughout most of Thursday’s opening match of the La Cañada High Tournament, the members of the Glendale High boys’ soccer team seemed to enjoy a significant territorial edge.

The Nitros used their speed to create several quality scoring opportunities, but were caught off guard during a crucial part of the contest and left frustrated following a 1-1 tie against Pioneer.

PHOTOS: Glendale vs. Pioneer boys' soccer in La Cañada High Tournament

Avo Haroutunyan gave the Nitros a 1-0 lead late in the first half. However, what irked the Nitros (4-2-1) was giving up a goal in the final minute of the first half to uncovered Jose Chavarin inside the box.

Glendale second-year Coach Artur Aghasyan called it a valuable lesson for the Nitros to learn.

“We were playing so well and we had a lot of chances, but you have to play until the final whistle,” said Aghasyan, whose team finished fourth in the Pacific League and advanced to the first round of the CIF Southern Section Division III playoffs after winning a wild-card match last season. “That’s the end result.

“We should have known that the half was almost over and kept playing. We lost our concentration in that last minute because we were not focused. Mistakes happen, but we will continue to get better. We have improved and we will keep working at getting better.”

Haroutunyan, a junior forward, had a shot stopped by Pioneer goalkeeper Freddy Rodriguez just inside the box in the 13th minute.

Haroutunyan capitalized on his next chance when he took a nifty pass from junior midfielder Levon Petrosyan and beat Rodriguez in the 31st minute.

“Levon made a beautiful pass,” Haroutunyan said. “We did some good things, like ball possession.

“We realized that we need to stay focused all the time. If you are dominating a match, you shouldn’t make mistakes like the one we made.”

Chavarin broke past a Glendale defender and headed the ball past Glendale goalkeeper Ervin Vartoomian with less than a minute left in the opening half.

Glendale and Pioneer each had a scoring chance in the final few minutes of the second half. Vartoomian made a diving save on a low shot by Chavarin in the 76th minute. Glendale’s Armen Hovhannisyan then lined a shot just over the crossbar in the 78th minute.

Glendale, which qualified for the playoffs last season, will meet Moorpark in another tournament match at 5 p.m. Friday. It will then meet La Cañada in a tournament contest at 5 p.m. Friday. The four-team tournament will wrap up Monday with the championship game scheduled to begin at 5 p.m.