SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Sacramento Gold FC scored three times in the second half to mount a 3-1 comeback win over the Burlingame Dragons and earn the club’s first ever U.S. Open Cup victory Wednesday at Capital Christian High School.
Jose Martinez and Manolo Piña each scored in a two-minute span, while Chimdum Mez netted an insurance goal as well. Jamael Cox tallied Burlingame’s lone goal.
The Dragons’ goal was the first of the game, and it came in the dying moments of the first half. After Burlingame earned a free kick near the top of the box, Cox stepped up and squeezed a kick inside the right post for a 1-0 Dragons lead going into the break.
Sacramento struck back in the 56th minute after a lot of pressure to open the second half. Cesar Mendoza sent a cross in from the right side, with Martinez and Piña leaping up to meet it. Martinez got there first, heading the ball past Burlingame goalkeeper Remi Prieur to tie the game at 1-1.
The Gold got another one only two minutes later. This time it was Piña who collected the ball near the top of the box, holding off a defender and turning right. Piña spun towards goal and launched a left-footed shot straight into the upper corner of the net, putting the Gold up 2-1.
After staving off pressure from Burlingame, Sacramento iced the game in the 89th minute. The Gold defense cleared the ball again, with Piña taking it up the right sideline. Piña broke away from his defenders on the side of the box and spotted Mez open on the left side. Piña lofted a cross, which Mez tapped in to make it the final score of 3-1.
The First Round matchup got off to a quick start, with both teams coming incredibly close to scoring in the first five minutes. In the third minute, Mendoza stole the ball from Brock Messenger and broke towards the Burlingame goal. However, Messenger recovered enough to knock the ball away and force a corner kick.
Two minutes later, the Dragons nearly struck themselves. Ugo Uche got the ball down the right side of the box before sending it to center. Gabe Silviera caught up to it, sending a cracking shot at goal. Sacramento goalkeeper John Connolly was ready, though, leaping to his right and deflected it away.
Burlingame got another good chance in the ninth minute, after Uche was played through over the top. Uche sent a shot at goal, but Connolly was able to make the stop with his feet and thwart the threat.
In the 21st minute, Sacramento nearly took the lead. Piña got free along the left hand side and played a fantastic ball to Martinez, who was making a run up the middle. Martinez aimed for the corner of the net, but put it wide left.
Connolly came up big twice shortly after the half hour mark. In the 31st minute, Cox was played through the left side and Connolly came out to contest the shot. Cox aimed his shot to the far side of the goal, but Connolly was able to reach back and corral the ball.
Four minutes later, Armando Garcia shifted through the defense to get a good chance of his own. Coming from the right side, Garcia cut to his left and sent a curving shot to the corner. However, Connolly was able to dive to his right and make the save.
In the 43rd minute, Alex Bettencourt sent a cross from the left side to Piña in the center. However, the ball bounced a bit too high and Piña wasn’t able to get his head over it. The Dragons would finally break the deadlock a few minutes later.
After Sacramento scored twice to take the lead, the Gold offense kept it up, sustaining the pressure and keeping the Dragons in their defensive third for about ten minutes after the second goal. When Burlingame finally broke out, the Gold defense held down the fort and helped preserve the win.
With the win, Sacramento advances to the Second Round of the 2016 U.S. Open Cup. The Gold will now face La Máquina FC on Wednesday, May 18. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. at Lake Forest Sports Complex.
LINEUPS/SUBSTITUTIONS: Sacramento Gold FC: G John Connolly, D Cesar Sosa, Zach Ulrich, Fernando De Alba, Danny Lomeli, M Cesar Mendoza, Nico Gonzalez, Alex Bettencourt (Danny Mititelu 71’), Sammy Gonzalez (Andrew Robles 37’ [Chimdum Mez 85’]), F Jose Martinez, Manolo Piña
Burlingame Dragons: G Remi Prieur, D Jorge Guillen-Torres, Kyle Cadigan, Brock Messenger (Josh Smith 46’), Tyler Matos, M Gabe Silviera (Khalid Arramdani 75’), Irvin Somera, Jose Mendoza, Armando Garcia, F Ugo Uche (Matt Wiesenfarth 56’), Jamael Cox