PORTLAND, Ore. – Sacramento Gold FC snapped its five-game losing streak thanks to a timely goal and a defensive stand in a 1-0 win over the Portland Spartans Saturday at Delta Park.
Nico Gonzalez netted the lone goal of the game, while John Connolly stopped every shot he faced, recording the club’s first shutout since April.
Connolly was quickly put to work. In the 16th minute, a Portland cross was sent into the box. Gerardo Marin Jr. got a head to the ball, but Connolly deflected it slightly. It was enough to send the ball bouncing off the crossbar and in front of goal. Cylus Sandoval was able to collect the ball and clear it out of danger.
Sandoval was part of the Gold’s first good chance of the game, in the 21st minute. Alex Bettencourt found Sandoval down the right side, where Sandoval cut back inside and fired a cross into the box. Ali Radmand got to it, but was unable to direct it towards net, allowing the Spartans to knock it away.
In the 39th minute, Radmand freed Bettencourt down the right with a nice header. Bettencourt sprinted towards goal and fired a rocket at goal. However, Jason Hines was able to push the shot over the bar for a corner kick.
Nothing came of it, and, three minutes later, it was Portland threatening. A cross from the right side snuck by everyone and bounced in front of goal. Sandoval was again able to get tot and clear. On the ensuing corner kick, the Spartans were able to head the ball towards goal, only for Connolly to reach back and parry the shot away.
Sacramento called on its goalkeeper again in the opening minute of the second half. Marin Jr. got by the Gold defense and ran down the right side towards goal. However, Connolly was able to make a quick reflex save to keep the game scoreless.
It would only remain so for seven more minutes. In the 53rd minute, Andrew Robles received a cross on the left side of the box, cut back in, and found an open Gonzalez on top of the box. Gonzalez took a touch and fired the ball into the right corner of the net, giving the Gold a 1-0 lead.
The home side turned up the pressure after the goal, forcing the defense to come up with several stops. The first of those came in the 60th minute, when Omar Gomez and Glapoujay Garmondeh played a nifty give-and-go on the left side. However, Connolly was able to stop Gomez’s effort.
Undeterred, the Spartans kept sending wave after wave of attacks at the Gold defense. Undaunted, Sacramento stood up to every challenge Portland presented. The Spartans did get one last chance in stoppage time when Christian Desir flicked it to Cody Guthrie in the box, only for Guthrie’s shot to fall wide. With the miss, the Gold was able to run out the clock.
Sacramento will now fly back home and regroup for the final road game of the 2016 NPSL regular season, a battle against Real San Jose on Saturday, June 25. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at PAL Stadium.
LINEUPS/SUBSTITUTIONS: Sacramento Gold FC: G John Connolly, D Zach Ulrich, Cylus Sandoval, Keenan Armbrust (Edric Soltero 63’), Cesar Sosa, M Alex Bettencourt, Andre Brown, Nico Gonzalez, Andrew Robles, F Ali Radmand (Chimdum Mez 57’), Kaleb Armbrust (Cesar Mendoza 57’)
Portland Spartans FC: G Jason Hines, D John Nolan, Makanda Mayamona (Cody Guthrie 73’), Cameron La Fleur, Anthony Hobbs, M Matthew Dwyer (Pierce Nusbaum 53’), Ryan Middleton, Zachary Naylor (Armando Vazquez 61’), Omar Gomez (Christian Desir 67’), F Jordan Selland (Glapoujay Garmondeh 53’), Gerardo Marin Jr. (Brody Voge 61’)