Kazarian's Penalty Kick Lifts Aztecs

Glenn Parsons
Date Published: 
Pasedena Star-News

Atlante Tumbled, 1-0

It took them an hour and 28 minutes to do it, but Montebello's Jerry Kazarian booted home a penalty kick with less than two minutes remaining to lift the Los Angeles Aztecs to a 1-0 soccer victory over Mexico's Atlante.

Suffering from an understandable overconfidence prompted by a 2-1 debut victory over Monterrey, Mexico's top pro team, last Sunday, the Aztecs coasted through the first half, then proceeded to dominate the second half before an Easter Sunday crowd of 7,124 in the East L.A. Stadium.

While the Aztecs could muster only three shots at the goal in the first half, Atlante was playing a ball-control game which resulted in 14 first-half shots, none of which found their way past the capable hands of Aztec goalie Kelvin Barclay, who spent a busy afternoon saving 14 shots, 11 before halftime.

Although it wasn't until the end of the contest before the Aztecs finally broke through for a goal, there were numerous occasions when they broke past the Atlante defense for what appeared to be certain scores.

Seven offsides calls in the first half, however, kept the Aztecs scoreless.

"I think we should've beaten them 3-0, but we made some mistakes in front of the goal," Aztec coach Alex Perolli commented following the game.

"But the score doesn't matter now. I'm happy with the 1-0 win," he continued.

And happy he should be.

With a tighter defense and an offense that began to do things right and press Atlante goalie Armanda Franco, Perolli's contingent dominated the second half, outshooting the visitors 10-4 and, generally, keeping the ball in the Atlante end of the field.

Still, it wasn't until the final two minutes when the Aztecs got a break and the winning tally.

Kazarian dribbled through the Atlante defense, beating Atlante defender Daniel Montes De Oca, who attempted to knock the ball away from behind only to trip Kazarian instead.

The mistake cost Atlante the game as Kazarian went to the penalty box and booted the ball to the right and above Franco for the score.

"There was a tremendous amount of pressure," said Kazarian, whose goal of last Sunday gave the Aztecs their first victory. "I just tried to hit it high and into the right side of the net."

A perfect shot and a perfect beginning for the rookie Aztecs.

"We are confident of our ability to win and we are coming together as a team," Perolli commented. "Our physical condition is improving, also. We were ready to play a 90-minute game this week and I only made two substitutions instead of five like in our first game."

Perolli, who normally doesn't single out individuals for praise, did so this week, commenting on Aztec defensive center Ramon Moraldo.

"The Atlante offense was getting away with too much in the first half, but Ramon guarded the play maker, Enrique Zamora, closer in the second half and they were never the same."

"We aren't completely ready for the North American Soccer League, but we are getting where we want to be quickly."

[photo caption]
YOU CAN'T HAVE THAT—Aztecs goalie Kelvin Barclay (1) attempts to kill an Atlante attack by keeping the ball from Gerard Rypkema (14). Thanks largely to Barclay's 14 saves, and effort such as that shown here, the Aztecs defeated Atlante 1-0 on Jerry Kazarian's penalty kick Sunday in the East Los Angeles Stadium. [Ramon Moraldo (3).] —Staff Photo by Walt Mancini