LA CA¿ADA — Coming into Tuesday afternoon's Prep League boys' soccer match against Webb, Flintridge Prep was one of four league teams still in contention for the league championship.
However, the Rebels coaches and players realized that a loss at this point in the season could derail the team's title aspirations.
Flintridge Prep didn't help its cause by falling behind in the contest's opening minutes. But the Rebels were able to recover, scoring a goal of their own in the first half to salvage a 1-1 tie against the Gauls at home.
"For a lot of teams in soccer, a tie is a good thing," Rebels Coach AJ Yates said. "But not for me. I'm a competitor and I don't like ties at all. I always want to get the win. With so many teams bunched up in league right now, we have to be thinking about wins and not ties."
First-place Flintridge Prep (11-4-3, 3-1-3 in league) has just one more league contest remaining, which will take place Friday against Chadwick at the Glendale Sports Complex. Webb (9-4-3, 2-1-3), on the other hand, has two contests remaining, Friday at Pasadena Poly and Feb. 13 at Rio Hondo Prep. Chadwick (4-2-4, 2-1-3) will play Prep Friday and host Pasadena Poly on Feb. 11. Finally, Pasadena Poly (7-3-3, 1-0-3) plays at Rio Hondo Prep Wednesday, will host Webb Friday and end at Chadwick on Feb. 11.
"There is logjam of teams and one loss could be it for the league title," Yates said. "There are a lot of teams with a host of ties. Last year, Chadwick won it by going 4-0-4."
Flintridge Prep fell behind in short order Tuesday against the Gauls on a goal in the third minute by Daniel Cristosomo. The junior got control of the ball on the right side with his back to the Flintridge Prep goal. Cristosomo turned on a defender and fired a shot from 20 yards out that beat Rebels goalkeeper Hamilton Evans high and to his right.
Webb was almost able to add to its lead one minute later when Justin Chandrasekhar just missed with a header.
The Rebels had precious few chances in the first half, as the Webb defense didn't allow Flintridge Prep to get off many shot attempts. In fact, the Rebels had one shot on goal in the first 40 minutes and, fortunately, they made good on the chance.
In the 11th minute, junior Riley Jones was able to knot the score at 1 with a fine effort. Jones dribbled at the top of the penalty area right at the arc. He got by two defenders and blasted a shot that carried past the outstretched hands of goalkeeper Ian Harbison.
"I just decided that was a good time to take the shot," Jones said. "I was just glad I was able to get off a pretty good shot."
The Rebels did have a good chance in the 26th minute. Henry Griffith picked up the ball on the right side and delivered a nice pass in across the front of the Webb goal. Teammate Michael Weinstein was there and got close to the ball, but he couldn't get off a shot.
In the second half, it was the Gauls who created their share of scoring chances. However, they weren't able to capitalize.
"We had the ball a half-dozen to 10 times in the first half at the edge of the box and all we could get out of it is one shot?" Yates said. "And the second half we didn't improve.
"We need guys who are hungry for the goal and guys who will take the shots. It was just surprising to me that we don't have guys who want to step up and want to score. We just can't dribble the ball into the back of the net for goals."