TEMECULA, Calif. -- After a long seven hour road trip to Temecula, the Gold faced the Southwest Champion FC Force in the Western Regional Semi-Final.
It was a warm night with a picture perfect sunset that soon turned into a downpour of goals against the hosts. The Gold ended the FC Force's 10 game unbeaten streak and season when the final whistle blew.
The game started with lots of intensity as both teams struggled to establish control and dominance. At the 25th minute, a thru ball past the Gold back line caused a collision between an FC Force striker and two Gold defenders resulting in a penalty kick for the FC Force. The Force converted the penalty kick and took a 1-0 lead.
It didn't take long for the Gold to equalize as Manolo Pina took a ball at the last defender of the Force and held it long enough for Nico Gonzalez to overlap him to his right side. Nico received the pass from Manolo and buried a shot to the far post making it a 1-1 game and sending tied at the half.
The second half started with more of a spark behind the Gold. In the 60th minute, Manolo Pina was brought down by the FC Force keeper after a brilliant combination pass from Nico Gonzales. Manolo buried the penalty kick giving the Gold a 2-1 lead.
It was just three minutes later that Manolo was at it again as he took a ball at midfield and dribbled along the left touchline and then blasted a left footed shot from 20 yards out that hit the upper back post and went into the net.
Seven minutes later, Jose "Cuco" Martinez buried a bent ball to the far post after receiving a perfect pass from Eliot Chambers.
The Gold had completely taken over the game as they controlled the tempo and strung together passes from side to side and back to front. At the 75th minute, Manolo buried his third goal of the game and recorded his hat trick after receiving a pass from Cuco and making it 5-1.
The Force was able to get a second goal at the 80th minute on a cross that found a striker coming through the box making the score 5-2.
The Force received a red card after a second yellow at the 82nd minute. The score remained unchanged and the Gold earned their spot in the Regional Final for the second year in a row.
The Western Regional Final will take place this coming Saturday July 19th at 8:00pm at River City High School in West Sacramento.
Starting Lineup Gold: Goal: Connolly; Defenders: Ulrich (Vega), R. Pina, F. DeAlba, Mititelu; Midfielders: Carranza(Mursean), Gonzalez(Soltero), D. DeAlba (Gallo), Prado(Chambers); Forwards: Martinez(Araiza), M. Pina(McCullough)