SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Saturday night might have been cold and windy at River City High School but the heat on and off the field was HOT as the Sacramento Gold hosted CD Aguiluchos from Oakland, CA.
The game started off a little cautious and the run of play was mainly through the middle of the field as neither team was able to develop much of a rhythm or control. The intensity was there without any doubt as Aguiluchos was playing to stay within playoff contention and the Gold were playing to stay at the top of the table.
Tensions were high during the first half as an Aguiluchos defender was given a yellow card for attempting to climb up into the stands for a confrontation with a Gold fan after the player had left the field of play with an injury. Play was momentarily stopped.
It wasn't till two minutes before halftime when an Aguiluchos defender mis-trapped a ball played into the box that bounced up and deflected off his hand. The Gold were awarded a penalty kick and it was Manolo Pina who stepped up to take the kick. With mastery, Manolo placed his shot high and away from the Aguiluchos keeper to give the Gold a 1-0 lead. The score remained 1-0 at the half.
Second half tensions continued as protests were heard from both teams after fouls. Early in the second half, Eliot Chambers was given a straight red card for striking a ball toward goal that hit an Aguiluchos player in the face after the whistle had blown.
The Gold adjusted and played with a player down for approximately 15 minutes until Aguiluchos player, Luis Quebvedo, was given a straight red card for a vicious cleats up foul to the midsection of Gold player, Ernesto Carranza. The game remained the same as the Gold began to put more pressure and looked dangerous a number of times on the attack.
It was in the 87th minute when the Gold counter attacked on the right side of the field on an early pass from Diego DeAlba to Manolo Pina. Manolo received the ball just past mid field and out raced Aguiluchos defenders as he was being closed down. Manolo placed a perfect shot across the face of the goal into the side of the net for a commanding 2-0 lead.
After the goal was scored, Aguiluchos forward, Rudis Corrales was issued a second yellow card resulting in a red card for dissent towards the referee. The Gold took control of the last few minutes as the clocked wound down to seal the well deserved 2-0 victory.
Gold Lineup: Connolly, F. DeAlba, Gallo, Antony, Soltero, Brioso (D. DeAlba), Carranza, Chambers, Fonseca (Jones), Martinez, M. Pina