Knocked Off the Top

SANTA ROSA, Calif. – Sacramento Gold FC’s slide continued Saturday with a 4-2 loss to the Sonoma County Sol at Santa Rosa High School.

Alex Bettencourt and Sammy Gonzalez scored for Sacramento.

The visitors got on the board first thanks to Taylor Varnadore, who stole a pass from the Gold defense in the tenth minute. The interception created a two-on-one, which Varnadore turned into a shot on goal. The ball flew into the left corner of the net for a 1-0 Sol lead.

Sacramento struck back in the 22nd minute. After a spell of pressure on the Sonoma defense, Josue Araiza collected a loose ball outside of the box and whipped a cross towards the penalty spot. Bettencourt leapt up and met the ball, heading it into the upper corner of the net to tie it at 1-1.

Bettencourt nearly gave the Gold the lead five minutes later. Capitalizing on a missed defensive header, Bettencourt found himself one-on-one with Sonoma goalkeeper Sean Taufer. However, Bettencourt’s one-timer missed wide right.

The back-and-forth action continied throughout the rest of the half. In the 40th minute, Sonoma was awarded a free kick from about 30 yards out. Justin Ferreira fired a free kick which seemed destined for the right corner. However, Sacramento goalkeeper John Connolly dove and deflected the ball away.

But, the Sol managed to snatch another goal in the last minute of the half. Diego Lopez weaved his way down the right side, eventually curving to the middle. Lopez flicked the ball into the same corner Varnadore hit to restore the Sonoma lead at 2-1.

Sacramento started the second half strong, but its momentum was taken away with a decision in the 49th minute. Cylus Sandoval appeared to clear the ball standing outside of the box with what appeared to be his shoulder. However, the official deemed him to have been in the box and the ball hitting his arm too low, whistling for a penalty kick. Brenton Frame converted the kick to make the count 3-1.

Though the Gold kept attacking, the Sol put the game out of reach in the 81st minute. Chris Daly intercepted a pass and sped off on the counterattack, leading a two-on-one. Daly dished off to Simon Wheatley, who tucked the ball in to push the lead to 4-1.

Still surging forward, Sacramento got one back in the 89th minute. Grabbing a loose ball on the left side, Keenan Armbrust lofted a cross into the box. Gonzalez jumped and headed the ball into the net to cut the lead to 4-2. Alas, the scoring was too little, too late.

Sacramento will now return home for an important match against CD Aguiluchos USA on Saturday, June 11. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Capital Christian High School.

LINEUPS/SUBSTITUTIONS: Sacramento Gold FC: G John Connolly, D Fernando De Alba, Cylus Sandoval (Dennis Garcia 83’), Danny Mititelu, Andre Brown (Kaleb Armbrust 73’), M Alex Bettencourt (Ali Radmand 57’), Diego De Alba (Cesar Mendoza 46’), Sammy Gonzalez, Andrew Robles (Keenan Armbrust 79’), F Jose Martinez, Josue Araiza

Sonoma County Sol: G Sean Taufer, D Nicholas Lombardi (Ivan Barba 83’), Justin Ferreira (Jonathan Villeda 75’), Jared Robbins, Alexis Brito, M Simon Wheatley, Diego Lopez (Angel Acevedo 79’), Marco Barragan, Brenton Frame (Cory Taufer 79’), F Nico Spann (Chris Daly 75’), Taylor Varnadore (Luke La Vanway 83’)


SON – Taylor Varnadore (Unassisted) 10’

SAC – Alex Bettencourt (Josue Araiza) 22’

SON – Diego Lopez (Unassisted) 45’

SON – Brenton Frame (Penalty Kick) 50’

SON – Simon Wheatley (Chris Daly) 81’

SAC – Sammy Gonzalez (Keenan Armbrust) 89’


SAC – Alex Bettencourt (Hard Foul) 26’

SON – Nicholas Lombardi (Breakaway Foul) 30’

SON – Taylor Varnadore (Hard Foul) 36’

SAC – Diego De Alba (Dissent) 37’

SON – Justin Ferreira (Dissent) 55’

SAC – Danny Mititelu (Interference) 86’


SON – M Diego Lopez