HAYWARD, Calif. – A 10-minute offensive surge helped Sacramento Gold FC come away with a 3-2 win against the East Bay FC Stompers Saturday at CSU East Bay’s Pioneer Stadium.
Sacramento midfielder Sammy Gonzalez and forward Jose Martinez scored goals during the surge, while East Bay’s offense came courtesy of Jovian Amirkiai and Salifu Jatta.
But, it was Gold midfielder Danny Lomeli who helped start the scoring only five minutes into the game. After being played through on the right by midfielder Diego De Alba, Lomeli cut back towards goal and sent a sharp cross inside. East Bay’s Emanuel Vazquez slid to block the cross, but the ball ricocheted off his leg and into the back of the net for an own goal and a 1-0 Gold lead.
The Stompers evened the score shortly after in the 13th minute. The East Bay midfield cut through on the right side, with Amirkiai leaping up and getting his head on a cross. Sacramento goalkeeper John Connolly dove to his right, but the ball snuck by and made the count 1-1.
Though East Bay controlled the possession for nearly the next hour of game time, it was Sacramento who ended up breaking the deadlock. Martinez got the ball just below midfield and sent a long ball right to midfielder Edric Soltero, who was running across to the left side. Soltero cut back and sent the ball to the top of the box, where Gonzalez was waiting. Gonzalez fired a shot East Bay goalkeeper Alex Valdovinas could not stop, scoring a golazo and restoring the Gold lead at 2-1.
Sacramento doubled its lead 10 minutes later. The Gold midfield worked the ball up the right side, where Gonzales eventually got a hold of it. Gonzales sent a cross towards the penalty spot, where Martinez was there to meet it, put it into the net, and make the score 3-1.
East Bay made it close by converting in the game’s dying moments after Victor Parra was brought down outside the Gold box. The ensuing free kick was low, but Connolly could not collect the shot cleanly. Jatta pounced on the rebound, sending the ball into the roof of the net and making it the final score of 3-2.
Though the game ended with five goals, scoring chances were, for the most part, few and far between. Apart from the two first half scores, the only two dangerous chances were too high for the net. In the 16th minute, Martinez collected the rebound from forward Josue Araiza’s blocked shot and sent it over the crossbar. In first half stoppage time, Prince Bere sent a cross into Amirkiai, who blasted his shot upward. Connolly leapt from his line and collected the ball before it caused further trouble.
The early second half was also devoid of dangerous chances. But, after Gonzalez’s goal, the offenses found their stride. In the 74th minute, Bere intercepted a throw from Connolly and squared up for a shot. The ball went straight at Connolly, who was able to make the save. Three minutes later, Sacramento got close when midfielder Andrew Robles lofted a cross towards a streaking Martinez. However, Martinez’s shot went over the crossbar.
Martinez would soon get his goal, and forward Chimdum Mez nearly made it 4-1 four minutes later. Running on the right side, Mez played a give-and-go with defender Fernando De Alba, slotting the ball by Valdovinas and into the net. However, Mez was ruled to have been offsides, nullifying the strike.
Despite the push from Sacramento, East Bay would not go down without a fight. In the 86th minute, Parra played his own give-and-go on the right side and fired a shot close to goal. Defender Dennis Garcia (making his Gold debut) slid in to block his former teammate’s attempt for a corner kick.
Then, after Jatta made it a one-goal game, the Stompers forward almost rescued a point for his team in stoppage time. Joel Sandoval got through on the right side and found Jatta, who flicked a backheel at goal. However, Connolly was able to react in time, make the save, and preserve the win.
Sacramento will now head home to prepare for a clash with the rival Sonoma County Sol. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 30 at Capital Christian High School.
LINEUPS/SUBSTITUTIONS: Sacramento Gold FC: G John Connolly, D Rene Piña (Danny Mititelu 67’), Zach Ulrich, Fernando De Alba (Dennis Garcia 85’) Edric Soltero, M Sammy Gonzalez, Andrew Robles, Danny Lomeli (Cesar Sosa 64’), Diego De Alba (Cesar Mendoza 54’), F Jose Martinez (Ali Radmand 85’), Josue Araiza (Chimdum Mez 64’)
East Bay Stompers: G Jose Majano (Alex Valdovinas 46’), D Prince Bere, Diego Garcia, Emanuel Vazquez, Luis Castillo (Armando Castro 78’), M Tommy Rodda (Luis Saxelby 81’), Brian Gomez, Arturo Gomez, Jorge Salazar (Victor Parra 78’), F Jovian Amirkiai (Joel Sandoval 46’), Charlie Swann (Salifu Jatta 79’)