After winning consecutive state titles, Legacy’s boys soccer team might have to face a letdown at some point.
If Saturday’s season-opening match is any indication, it may not come anytime soon.
Antonio Velazquez had a goal and two assists, and the Longhorns started their quest for another title in strong fashion with a 4-1 victory at defending Sunrise Region champion Eldorado.
“The players are happy, I’m happy, so it’s a good start,” Legacy coach Jose Gomez said. “As a coach, you’re always expecting more, but Eldorado is a good gauge right here.”
Skyler Ibarra, Luke Skrinjoric and Rodolfo Robles all chipped with goals for the Longhorns, who led 2-1 at the half and could have expanded the lead before the intermission.
Sundevils’ goalkeeper Sammy Tapia made 10 of his 13 saves in the first half. The Longhorns held a distinct height advantage and played stingy defense throughout the game.
“Overall we’ve got some really good finishers on our team, good defenders in the back, and we moved the ball well,” Velazquez said. “This season I think we’re going to go for [the state championship] again.”
It may not be so easy for the Longhorns. Like Eldorado, Legacy lost several key players to graduation.
Gomez said that Ibarra, Velazquez and Saul Aguirre are going to be relied on to provide veteran leadership.
“That’s one of those things where we have to understand what we’re up against,” Gomez said. “There’s a lot of good teams out there. Last year was last year, and we understand that. This is a new year; every year has its own new obstacles. As the season goes on, if we keep winning, it builds confidence. Right now, this is a good step towards that.”
Andres Lua scored for Eldorado, which threatened a bit in the second half, forcing Legacy goalkeeper David Diaz to record nine saves in the final 40 minutes.
“We’ve got to work on conditioning,” Eldorado coach Gerald Pentsil said. “That’s one of the reasons I’m glad we played Legacy. You play the best and you find out where you are.”
At halftime, Pentsil told his team they needed to work on defending, making better use of their possessions and having the forwards apply more pressure. After the game, he said the team needed to avoid getting frustrated and yelling at each other.
“We have to work together on playing together as a team,” Pentsil said. “We gave away a lot of easy balls, so we have to work on keeping possession. We gave away balls, started getting frustrated, and you can’t do that. That’s what happens when you’re turning over a new team, and you just have to build the chemistry.”