OAKLAND, Calif. – Sacramento Gold FC rallied to tie the score late, but gave up a last minute winner and stoppage time insurance to CD Aguiluchos USA in a 5-3 loss Saturday at Raimondi Park.
Danny Mititelu joined the Gonzalez brothers – Nico and Sammy – on the scoresheet for Sacramento. Simon Rawnsley and Ross Middlemiss each scored twice for CDA, while Juan Mondragon also found the back of the net.
Aguiluchos got the scoring started at the exact same time they did the last time these two teams met: in the seventh minute. Middlemiss dribbled down the left side of the box and crossed to Rawnsley, who headed the ball in for a 1-0 CDA lead.
Sacramento struck back in the 23rd minute. After Alex Bettencourt was brought down about 30 yards from goal, Nico Gonzalez stepped up to take the free kick. Gonzalez ripped a shot into the right side of the net to tie it at 1-1.
The hosts grabbed the lead again just before halftime. A bouncing ball found its way to Rawnsley at the top of the box. Rawnsley got separation from his defender, turned, and fired a shot to the right of Sacramento goalkeeper John Connolly for a 2-1 advantage.
CDA doubled its lead three minutes into the second half. Rawnsely was able to corral a long ball, go around his defender, and straight on towards goal. Connolly came out to challenge and Rawnsley’s shot bounced off the post. However, Middlemiss was there to clean up the rebound and make the score 3-2.
The Gold bravely fought back. In the 63rd minute (four minutes after he came on as a substitute) Mititelu got his head to a Sammy Gonzalez free kick. The ball went by the outstretched arms of CDA goalkeeper Kevin Gonzalez and into the corner of the net, cutting the deficit to 3-2.
Wave after wave of offensive pressure from Sacramento finally broke through in the 87th minute. After a nice give-and-go in the midfield, Nico Gonzalez played a ball to Jose Cruz on the left side of the box. Cruz sent it across goal, where Sammy Gonzalez pounced, sending a thumping header into the goal to tie the game at 3-3.
However, the Gold’s valiant effort would be in vain. In the final minute of regulation, Middlemiss got his head to a free kick from about midfield, deflecting the ball by Connolly and restoring the CDA lead at 4-3.
Sacramento pressed for another tying goal and was given a free kick deep into stoppage time. However, a turnover on the short kick led to a breakaway for CDA. Jose Cabeza played the ball left to Mondragon, who tapped it in to make the score a 5-3 final.
Both teams had other dangerous chances in the first half. In the 20th minute, Miguel Santiago stole the ball just outside the box and played Rawnsley through on the right. Rawnsley’s shot bounced off the post, but Middlemiss swooped in for the rebound. However, Connolly made a spectacular reaction save and prevent another goal.
A nifty bit of passing in the midfield nearly put Sacramento ahead in the 30th minute. A chain of passes between Bettencourt, Jose Martinez, Chimdum Mez, and the Gonzalez brothers eventually led to Sammy getting a crack at goal from the top of the box. However, the third Gonzalez was able to make the save.
Sacramento’s next NPSL game will take place at home on Friday, May 20 against OSA FC. In the meantime, the Gold will take part in the 2016 U.S. Open Cup, hosting the Burlingame Dragons on Wednesday, May 11. Kickoff for the First Round match is set for 7 p.m. at Capital Christian High School.
LINEUPS/SUBSTITUTIONS: Sacramento Gold FC: G John Connolly, D Rene Piña (Danny Mititelu 59’), Zach Ulrich, Fernando De Alba, Danny Lomeli (Cesar Sosa 46’), M Cesar Mendoza, Nico Gonzalez, Alex Bettencourt (Jose Cruz 84’), Sammy Gonzalez, F Jose Martinez, Chimdum Mez
CD Aguiluchos USA: G Kevin Gonzalez, D Ricardo Guerra, Edwin Chavez, Bengy Ruiz, Devin Collins (Juan Mondragon 69’), M Adan Martinez (Matheus Freire 81’), Jose Cabeza, Miguel Santiago, William Nino (Ahmad Hatifi 73’), F Ross Middlemiss, Simon Rawnsley