SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Sacramento Gold FC created plenty of chances to score in its 2016 NPSL regular season opener. However, none went in, as Sacramento fell to Real San Jose 1-0 Saturday at Capital Christian High School.
Despite dozens of shots on goal, the Gold was not able to put one past San Jose goalkeeper Jonathan Arellano, who earned Man of the Match honors. Meanwhile, Real took advantage of its best chance in the 69th minute when substitute Heriberto Guerrero broke free along the left side and slotted the ball past Sacramento goalkeeper Andres Olmedo.
The Gold nearly evened the score in the final minute of regulation time. Forward Chimdum Mez received an overhead ball up the middle and ran into the box, where he was brought down by a challenge which appeared to be penalty-worthy. However, the official did not deem it to be so.
San Jose nearly started the scoring in the second minute with a quick run through the defense. However, defender Fernando De Abla did enough to delay the shot, which Olmedo deflected out for a corner kick.
Sacramento almost struck in the sixth minute when midfielder Danny Lomeli’s corner kick eventually found midfielder Andrew Robles outside of the box. Robles sent it back to Lomeli on the right, where he whipped in a cross to Jose Martinez. Martinez’s header bounced off the left post and was cleared.
Martinez got another good chance four minutes later, when forward Manolo Piña sprinted down the right side. Piña crossed it into Martinez, whose scissor kick sailed just over the bar.
The Gold defense fell asleep in the 17th minute when San Jose whipped a cross into Juan Carlos Leal, who should’ve finished but instead pushed it wide right.
In the 28th minute, it was San Jose with a defensive mistake. A miscommunication between defenders left Piña with the ball running at goal. However, Arellano managed to deflect Piña’s shot out for a corner.
Sacramento’s next best chance came in the 50th minute, when midfielder Diego De Alba earned a free kick near midfield. De Alba’s booming cross found the newly subbed-on Mez, whose shot went just over the crossbar.
San Jose then began an offensive spell in the 56th minute. Alfredo Martinez managed to poke the ball away from defender Zach Ulrich and launch a shot at goal, putting it wide of the right post.
The Gold broke the spell with a close shot in the 63rd minute. A cross took a deflection towards midfielder Alex Bettencourt on the left. Bettencourt sent a curling shot which seemed destined for the upper right corner of the goal. However, San Jose was able to get a head on the ball and deflect it over the bar.
After a series of substitutions, the Gold began to turn on the heat on offense. A 76th minute cross into the box got by Arellano and to the foot of Mez. His shot was blocked by a defender on the line, though the rebound fell to Martinez. Martinez sent a cross to Piña in the middle, but his shot was high of goal.
One minute later, defender Danny Mititelu made a run down the left. He sent a cross to the right side of the box, where Piña headed it towards the middle. Martinez went for a bicycle kick, which barely went wide left of the goal.
In the 81st minute, Piña received a cross in the box and fired a shot at goal. Arellano’s deflection fell to Mez out left. Arellano was able to stop Mez’s follow-up shot as well. Three minutes later, Martinez sent another cross into Piña. Piña managed to turn free and shoot, but his shot was wide right. Though the Gold had further chances, none would fall.
Sacramento will now start the road portion of its NPSL regular season schedule with a clash against the archrival Sonoma County Sol. The action gets underway on Saturday, March 26 at 7 p.m. at Santa Rosa High School.
LINEUPS/SUBSTITUTIONS: Sacramento Gold FC: G Andres Olmedo, D Rene Piña, Zach Ulrich, Fernando De Alba, Erick Vega, M Diego De Alba (Danny Mititelu 70’), Andrew Robles (Chimdum Mez 46’), Alex Bettencourt (Sammy Gonzalez 70’), Danny Lomeli (Josue Araiza 46’), F Jose Martinez, Manolo Piña
Real San Jose: G Jonathan Arellano, D David Sifuentes, Giovanni Troini, Cesar Rodriguez, M Noah Pederson (Francisco Camacho 43’), Jose Avalos, Daniel Galvan, Sami Sreis (Javier Hernandez 61’), Nick Vargas, F Alfredo Martinez (Si Mohamed Azaz Bsai 70’), Juan Carlos Leal (Heriberto Guerrero 58’)
RSJ – Heriberto Guerrero (Unassisted) 69’
SAC – Danny Mititelu (Dissent) 89’
MAN OF THE MATCH:
RSJ – G Jonathan Arellano