BURBANK — After twice sustaining left-knee injuries last season, Matt Ryan is looking to get back to the basics and be creative.
The Crescenta Valley High boys’ soccer player suffered the injury during the midway point last season before reinjuring the knee later in the campaign. Now, he’s using several summer matches as a barometer to test the knee while providing offense for the Falcons.
Ryan took a step forward and finished with one goal and one assist Thursday to lead Crescenta Valley to a 6-1 win against Taft in a Burroughs High Summer League consolation match at Luther Middle School.
“I’m feeling much better and being able to make my runs with the ball,” said Ryan, a senior forward. “It’s more about the mental aspect because I was a little nervous at first in coming back.
“I started off well last year and then the injuries came. I want to try to get back to where I was before the injury.”
Ryan set the tone early for the Falcons, who finished second in the Pacific League before advancing to the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division III playoffs last season.
Ryan helped give Crescenta Valley a 1-0 lead in the second minute with a nifty pass through the goal mouth to Jonathan Tsarofski, who directed the ball into the net. Ryan made it 2-0 in the ninth minute off an assist from Daniel Chang.
Crescenta Valley, which won the Division IV championship in 2012 under the direction of coach Grant Clark, peppered Taft with 10 first-half shots. Arthur Azizyans scored two goals nearly three minutes apart to give the Falcons a 4-0 lead before Kevin Ginosian completed the first-half scoring with less than a minute remaining to stretch the advantage to 5-0.
Clark, a former All-Area Boys’ Soccer Coach of the Year honoree, said Ryan provided the Falcons with an early boost.
“To see Matt come back from that kind of injury is great,” Clark said. “We are going to rely on him for some scoring [during the regular season].
“He went out there and put himself in good situations and created some quality scoring chances.”
After Taft sliced the deficit to 5-1 in the 54th minute, Crescenta Valley received a goal from Ginosian with about 10 minutes remaining to make it 6-1.
Crescenta Valley finished with 14 shots on goal.
Clark said he’s currently evaluating personnel so he can form possible lineup combinations and determine players’ strengths and weaknesses.
“You see how they do different things, like making touches to just learning the system that we use,” Clark said. “You look to see who can be creative, especially in the midfield spot. Plus, you get to see how they might stack up playing at the varsity level.”
Crescenta Valley will next compete in the league’s fifth-place contest at 6:15 p.m. Wednesday at the same location.