December 16, 2012 - Professional Arena Soccer League (PASL) - Anaheim Bolts
ANAHEIM, Calif. - The players chosen by Anaheim Bolts Head Coach Bernie Lilavois for Sunday's 12-6 road defeat to the Arizona Storm should have fans of Orange County 's professional indoor soccer team excited for the rest of the season. Lilavois, who recently decided he will transition from the sideline to the role of General Manager in the coming days, bumped up several reserve players while also giving playing time to local prospects with little to no experience in the indoor game.
The decision is a reflection of Lilavois' future-oriented plan to build a deep pool of young and hungry players for his yet-to-be-named successor.
With midfielder Cameron White and Antonio Hernandez as well as forwards Julio Garrido and Cesar Gonzalez all making their season debuts for the first team, nerves and a lack of familiarity between the Anaheim protagonists were a factor early on in the PASL clash. However, the visitors recovered quickly from a lopsided first period and showed plenty of promise as they outscored their opponents 6-5 over the remainder of the match.
The initial lack of chemistry between the Bolts players, who had never once taken the field together, saw the well-oiled Arizona attack storm out to a quick 7-0 lead behind a hat-trick by David Hague and additional goals by Reid Schmitt, Brandon Mills, Nicola Barraza and Mitch Garcia. One of the highlights of the opening period came when Garcia's left-footed blast from long range whistled inside the far post for the day's sixth tally.
The visitors from Anaheim battled back in impressive fashion in the second quarter, which they won 3-2 to cut the halftime deficit to 8-3. After Storm striker Garcia found the upper ninety with a beautiful curling effort, the Bolts responded with three unanswered strikes, including two of the memorable type by player-coach Lilavois.
First the indoor soccer legend sent a cracker into the net on a restart. Then he was set up beautifully by teammate Jayro Martinez, who had single-handedly created the chance by dispossessing an opposition player in midfield and quickly transitioning into the attack. Martinez also had a strike of his own in the period, while Arizona 's second tally came on an unfortunate Bolts own-goal.
The hosts would repay the favor after the break by sending the ball into their own net, and additional tallies by Anaheim 's Jhonatan Bravo and Gonzalez saw their side go on another 3-2 run, Arizona's Garcia and Hague firing home at the other end. Garcia's goal opened the scoring in the second half, as the attacking ace launched a rocket on a restart that found the top right-hand corner of the frame to temporarily extend his side's lead to 10-3.
Trailing 11-6 to start the final quarter, the Bolts closed out the night with more quality soccer but were unfortunate not to capitalize on several close looks. Meanwhile, Storm midfielder Andrew Szerlag beat Anaheim goalkeeper Manabu Kaji at the other end to bring the final score to 12-6 .
"I'm proud of the effort shown by the reserve players and the indoor first-timers," said Lilavois, who will soon leave his coaching post in order to focus all of his attention on the franchise's business and operations.
He continued, "The fact that these guys won the last three quarters after going down 7-0 shows a lot of character. As much as I wish the result was different, I'm very excited about the potential we showed. Now I am looking forward to my new role in leading the rebirth of the Bolts. The work behind the scenes has already begun and I can't wait to present the new-look Bolts to our fans at our home game against the Mexico Toros on December 27."
The meeting with the visiting Toros is scheduled to kick off at 7 p.m. PT . Tickets start at $12 and may be purchased through Ticketmaster or the Anaheim Convention Center Arena box office. Parking is free. For more information, please call the Bolts front office at 714-321-9898 or the Anaheim Convention Center Arena at 714-765-8980.