LA PUENTE – Josue Flores recorded his third hat trick in as many matches to lead the Baldwin Park boys’ soccer team to a 5-2 victory over the host Nogales Nobles Thursday afternoon in a Valle Vista matchup. The victory avenged the Braves’ 2-1 loss earlier in the season to Nogales.
“You made a statement today,” Braves coach Ricardo Mira told his team after the match. “A beautiful statement.”
Flores open the scoring with the first of his three goals – all of which in the first half – on a breakaway along the left side culminating with a skipping shot right past the Nobles’ goalkeeper. He would then close out the half with two more goals within two minutes of each other to give the Braves a commanding 3-0 lead going into halftime.
The Nobles could not capitalize on its chances, including a free kick and a penalty kick which could have closed the gap in the first half.
“Today we played at the level that we are capable of,” Mira said. “We were able to play in stride and in rhythm.”
Nogales, however, would not go away as it would be able to capitalize on a penalty kick by Omar Hermancio early into the second half. Ezekiel Pena would add one more goal for the Nobles to make the game closer, but the result has already been decided.
Kevin Sandoval and Jesus Granados each added a goal to put the game out of reach in the second half for the Braves.
“After our loss to Covina which we self-destructed, we went into winter break and did some teambuilding,” Mira said. “Our performance today showed the result of that bonding.”
Baldwin Park returns to actions Saturday as it hosts the Pomona Red Devils. Kickoff is at 2pm.