Arlington boys soccer team extends unbeaten run with victory over Norte Vista – Press Enterprise

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RIVERSIDE — Unbeaten and nearly flawless this season, Arlington’s boys soccer team is brimming with confidence as one of the state’s top-ranked teams.

Led by two goals from Jesus Palma, the Lions burst into 2024 with a 5-0 victory Tuesday night over visiting Norte Vista in a River Valley League opener.

“We talked about finishing chances early and thankfully we got two in the first 10 minutes,” Arlington coach Kevin Watson said.

It’s the most lopsided victory in history of the series for Arlington (12-0-0 overall), which features 18 seniors on its 23-player roster.

“Some of these players are in their fourth year of varsity, so you’re talking close to 70 games of experience,” Watsons said.

Norte Vista goalkeeper Saul Lucero was under pressure early and often and responded with several acrobatic stops, but the Braves (5-4-3) struggled to possess the ball and create scoring opportunities.

“You’re not going to be able to break (Arlington) down,” Norte Vista Matt Beliveau said. “How many goals have they given up? One in 12 games, plus they score a bunch.”

Arlington, which has outscored opponents 56-1 this season, took a lead in the 6th minute as Jacob Arellano dribbled unmarked into the attacking third before laying it off to Hugo Gomez, who sent a cross through the box to the back post where Palma tapped it in.

“We wanted to come out quickly and surprise them,” Palma said. “It feels, right now, like nothing can stop us.”

The Lions got another goal 3 minutes later from a corner kick, with Lucero stopping the first shot but giving away a rebound for Diego Perez to finish.

Palma grabbed his second tally in the 25th minute on the end of a tight piece of interplay up the left wing that freed him to go one-on-one against Lucero before firing into the back of the net.

“Scoring against the rivals, it’s everything,” Palma said.

Norte Vista found some defensive bite in the second half, but the Lions tacked on two more goals in the final 10 minutes as Javier Hernandez and Salvador Carrillo put a pair of exclamation points on the match.

Isaiah Goicochea had the Braves’ only shots on goal – a half-chance off the side of his foot and a long-distance free kick – in a performance Beliveau will keep tucked in his pocket for later this season.

“C’mon, this is Game 1 for crying out loud,” Beliveau said. “We’ll go back and look at the video, and they still have to come to us and it won’t be all smooth and nice like this.”

Norte Vista hosts the return match against Arlington on Jan. 18.

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