Two Santa Ana Valley defenders (blue jerseys) try to keep Godinez from winning a header on Monday at Centennial Park during Monday's boys soccer season opener.

Godinez edges Santa Ana Valley in season opener


SANTA ANA – Two teams searching for a new identity showed up for Monday’s boys soccer season opener here at Centennial Park.

Santa Ana Valley needs to find someone who can score some goals now that Jose Montes de Oca is playing in Mexico and Armando Flores is in the Chivas USA Academy.

Godinez lacks some experience, too, only returning four players from last year’s team, losing its team captain to JSerra. So the chemistry, Godinez coach Ruben Fernandez said, isn’t there yet for the Grizzlies. And it showed at times on the field. The Grizzlies’ one-on-one defending was “a bit suspect” Fernandez said, and he would have also liked to have seen his team do a better job maintaining possession.

Godinez did however hold onto the ball long enough in the second half for Danny Lopez to score in the 52nd minute and lead the Grizzlies to a 1-0 nonleague victory against Santa Ana Valley.

“Technically, this team is not as good as in the past, but they are hard working, and they have a good attitude,” Fernandez said.

The Grizzlies pressure gave the Falcons some problems, and Valley only took one shot in the first 60 minutes of the game. Godinez also puts three players up top in their formation, and Santa Ana Valley coach Jose Sanchez said the Falcons had a hard time adjusting to it.

It wasn’t until the 62nd minute that the Falcons put their first shot on frame. Erick Basquez (cq) fired a shot from inside the penalty area between two Godinez defenders, but Luis Rodriguez slid to the top of the 6-yard box and knocked the ball away with the bottom of his cleats.

Rodriguez finished with four saves for the Grizzlies. He turned away another shot from Basquez in the 70th minute, a header that was set up by a cross from Alex Luna.

“We are trying to replace two players and that is tough,” Sanchez said. “We are trying to figure things out.”

In May, Flores won the Sueno MLS competition, which made him a part of the Chivas USA Youth Academy. He picked up his award during a live broadcast on Univision after beating a field of 2,000 players who began the competition in regional events around the country. The 18 finalists were brought to the Home Depot Center to perform in front of scouts at the “Final Event,” where the winner of Sueno MLS was chosen.

“I thought we played better in the second half. We had some chances,” Sanchez said. “But their keeper made some good saves. They (Godinez) did a good job.”    

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