BURBANK — The Burroughs High boys' soccer team was without four key starters for its season opener Thursday night. Among the missing players were an All-CIF Southern Section standout and the team's starting goalkeeper.
What made the predicament even worse for the Indians was they were opening the year with a pool-play contest in their own Ralph Brandt Tournament.
Despite missing the starters, Burroughs didn't miss a beat. Powered by four straight goals from Ashot Vesiyan and three assists from Milosh Petko — all coming in the first half — the Indians were able to coast to an easy 7-0 victory against Pasadena Poly at Memorial Field.
Vesiyan, a junior playing in his first varsity contest for the Indians, tied a tournament record for goals in a game with four, held by four players in the 21-year span of the event.
"I wasn't nervous at all. I never get nervous when I play," Vesiyan said through an interpreter. "I like the players who are around me and they got me the ball and I will do the same for them."
Vesiyan put on an impressive performance, scoring his four straight goals in a span of 35 minutes to start the game. That left the Panthers (1-1) in a tough position with five minutes still remaining in the first half.
The Indians played well in the opening moments, as Poly seemed resigned to packing it in on the defensive end and looking to surprise Burroughs with a quick counter. But the Indians didn't fall into the trap.
"In the middle of the game, I told Brandon [Gerlach] to stay back a little more and we have to be ready for the counter," Petko said. "We didn't have our starting keeper in the net so I was a little nervous about him having to face a lot of shots. So we wanted to make sure they didn't get the shots."
The Burroughs defense did that to near perfection, as backup goalkeeper Saul Zepeda had to make only two saves.
Vesiyan's onslaught started with a goal in the 17th minute on an assist from Gerlach after Bailey Anderson stole the ball. Vesiyan would strike again in the 25th minute on a throw-in assist from Petko and in the 28th minute on an assist from Nolberto Alcantar, to tally the natural hat trick.
But the junior added his fourth goal in the 35th minute on another assist from Petko.
"You could see after that second goal that that really affected them," Burroughs Coach Mile Kodama said of Pasadena Poly. "After that you could see that they were down and that kind of took a lot out of them."
Burroughs received a goal from Alcantar in the 38th minute on a Petko assist and went into halftime with a commanding 5-0 advantage.
"Even though we were missing some players, we are very confident in the talent that we did have out there," Kodama said. "We have a lot of depth this season so we have the players to fill the spots. We asked a lot of guys to come through, especially with our defense, and they stepped up."
In the second half, Artur Vesiyan scored in the 62nd minute and tallied his second goal in the 60th minute to complete the scoring.
Burroughs will continue pool play in its tournament with a 7 p.m. match Saturday against West Ranch at Memorial Field.