Glendale's Avo Haroutunian controls the ball against La Canada in the final game of the La Canada Tournament.

Glendale's Avo Haroutunian controls the ball against La Canada in the final game of the La Canada Tournament. (Cheryl A. Guerrero/Staff Photographer / December 28, 2012)

LA CANADA FLINTRIDGE — Glendale High boy's soccer Coach Arthur Aghasyan called it a statement win.

Aghasyan’s sentiments came on the heels of an impressive victory for the Nitros over the La Cañada, which started the season winning eight of 10 games and is ranked fifth in CIF Southern Section Division V.

The Nitros, on the flip side, have struggled this season, but executed well against the Spartans in a physical, scrappy contest that saw Glendale score on a penalty kick with four minutes to play in regulation.

Leo Megerdichian’s goal 36 minutes into the second half would prove to be the game-winner as the Nitros prevailed, 3-2, Friday night in the La Cañada Tournament.

The two squads will meet again in the finals of the tournament Saturday at 5:30 p.m.

“We’re ready for everything,” Aghasyan said. “We’re building underground, but we’re on the up and up.”

Megerdichian’s late goal concluded a second half that saw the teams combine for three goals after the squads trade goals in the first half, going into halftime at 1-1. Albert Chamagua gave the Nitros a 1-0 lead 20 minutes into the contest. The Spartans answered in two minutes on a JP Schadel goal.

Glendale’s Avo Haratounian wasted little time after the break, regaining the lead for the Nitros as his goal came just over a minute into the second half.

Neither team was able to sustain any momentum on offense thereafter, mainly due to aggressive defense on both ends. The Spartans controlled time of possession and moved the ball efficiently, but did not get many good looks at the goal.

Eventually, La Cañada (8-2-1) benefited from the heated play late in the game as pushing and shoving led to a free kick for co-captain Armand Bagramyan.

The senior striker took advantage of the rare opportunity and tied the game at 2 with a bullet from 30 yards out.

Six minutes later, the Nitros picked up the pace on offense for the first time in the half and it resulted in Megerdichian getting taken down in the box.

“We’re going to be hard to beat once the league season begins,” Aghasyan said. “This is a message for everyone that we can play whether it’s at home or away.”

La Canada’s Coach Alex Harrison declined to comment.

The Spartans had won five of six games, including four shutouts before the loss to Glendale.