SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Sacramento Gold FC suffered a setback in its bid for a spot in the 2015 NPSL Playoffs, falling 3-1 to the rival Sonoma County Sol at Capital Christian High School.
Bo Fonseca put Sacramento on the scoreboard in response to Omar Nuno’s first half goal. Justin Ferreira and Nico Spann would seal it for Sonoma with a goal each.
As a back-and-forth first half was coming to a close, Simon Wheatley sent a through ball up the middle to Nuno in stride. Nuno was able to beat the Gold defense and Sacramento goalkeeper John Connolly to put the Sol up 1-0 less than a minute before halftime.
Less than a minute into the second half, the Gold responded. Fonseca received the pass from Fernando Cabadas on the left side. Fonseca advanced, making a few nice moves into the box, and blasted a shot by Sol goalkeeper Arturo Ornelas to tie the game at 1-1.
Sonoma’s own response came five minutes later. Nuno got past the defense on the left side and ran towards goal. Instead of shooting, Nuno flicked to the middle and a wide open Ferreira, who tapped it in for a 2-1 Sol lead.
The Sol would seal it with a bit of luck and a bit of skill. Off a free kick in the 64th minute, the ball took a deflection off several players and flew to the right of the box. Spann managed to hit it perfectly into the upper right corner of the goal to make it 3-1 for Sonoma.
Sacramento nearly scored in the right minute of the game as well. Abrahm Prado made a nice run down the left side and passed it to Jason Jones in the middle. Jones, returning to the lineup for the first time since an injury two months ago, just missed the change.
Sonoma nearly got on the board during a five-minute span early in the half. In the 11th minute, Nuno cut through the left side of the box only to be met with a nice tackle from Fernando De Alba. The ball managed to find Spann, whose shot was just wide left.
Three minutes later. Nuno and Oscar Ortiz got a breakaway up the middle. Ortiz help onto the ball for a bit too long, and Sonoma ended up settling for a poor shot, which Connolly collected.
In the 16th minute, Danny Lomeli found Jones on the right side just above the box. Jones, seeing Ornelas was a bit off his line, fired off a long distance shot which had Ornelas fooled. However, Jones’ shot went inches over the crossbar.
After Spann missed a wide open chance two minutes earlier, Sacramento nearly got it in off a crazy sequence in the 24th minute. Off a long throw-in from Fonseca deep in Sonoma territory, the ball bounced to Lomeli, who fired a shot straight at Ornelas. The save bounced back to Prado, whose shot deflected off a defender and Jones towards goal. Ornelas was able to make the save.
In the 41st minute, Prado lofted a cheeky chip at goal from the left side which sailed over Ornelas’ outstretched hands. Unfortunately for Sacramento, it also sailed over the crossbar.
Nuno turned up his efforts at the end of the half. After Nuno forced Connolly to make a brilliant one-on-one save in the 42nd minute, he nearly put it in in the 44th. Receiving a cross into goal, Nuno should have easily tapped it in. But, the shot was sent over the net. Nuno made up for the miss one minute later.
The two teams traded a pair of headers after Fonseca’s goal. In the 49th minute, Nuno got onto a cross in front of goal, but his short-range effort was blocked by Connolly. Two minutes later, Cuco Martinez nearly headed it in off a corner kick for the Gold. However, Ornelas made the save. The Sol would score on the next offensive possession.
The Gold nearly tied it with a bit of tiki-taka passing in the 61st minute. A string of passes early on stretched to nearly two dozen, as Sacramento looked to break down the Sonoma defense. It almost worked; Fonseca got the ball in open space in front of goal. However, Ornelas was able to make the save.
After getting the ball back off the ensuing kick, the Gold looked to strike back through Jason Jones. His shot was saved, but the rebound found Fonseca. He got not just one shot off, but two. Both were stopped by the defense.
Minutes later, Sonoma would make it 3-1. After the goal, Sonoma’s defense would tighten up and not allow Sacramento another serious chance.
Sacramento now must win its final two games and have a little bit of help in order to clinch a playoff spot. The first game will also be the Gold’s final home game of the regular season. Kickoff against Real San Jose is set for 7 p.m. on Saturday, June 13 at Capital Christian High School.
LINEUPS/SUBSTITUTIONS: Sacramento Gold FC: G John Connolly, D Rene Piña (Zach Ulrich 56’), Fernando De Alba, Erick Vega, Danny Mititelu, M Andrew Robles (Eliot Chambers 76’), Fernando Cabadas (Nate Nugen 76’), Bo Fonseca Ali Radmand 85’), Danny Lomeli, F Abrahm Prado (Cuco Martinezz 46’), Jason Jones
Sonoma County Sol: GK Arturo Ornelas, D Justin Ferreira, Taylor Varnadore, Andrew Bailey, Angel Acevedo (Alan Andrade 64’), M Chris Daly (Eric Larsen 67’), Simon Wheatley, Arnold Salazar, F Nico Spann (Tyler Hurst 80’), Omar Nuno (Brandon Boone 76’), Oscar Ortiz
SCORING SUMMARY: SON – Omar Nuno (Simon Wheatley) 45’