(Photo by Vanessa S. Nelson)
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Thanks to a balanced attack and a stifling defense, Sacramento Gold FC gave the home fans a show Saturday, topping the East Bay Stompers 3-0 at Capital Christian High School.
Matt Wiesenfarth lead the way for Sacramento with two goals, while Danny Lomeli added a third. Goalkeeper Philip Bru collected his second shutout of the season.
The two teams met for the first time since last year’s NPSL regular season finale, when the visiting Stompers eliminated the Gold from postseason contention. This time, Sacramento made sure the result would not be the same.
15 minutes into the game, the revenge began. During a spell of possession for the Stompers, the visitors played a long ball back to goalkeeper Victor Meraz. Wiesenfarth pressured Meraz, forcing the goalkeeper to take an errant touch and turn the ball over. Wiesenfarth simply walked the ball into the net to give the Gold a 1-0 lead.
After some back-and-forth chances, the complexion of the game was changed in the 42nd minute. Lomeli played a thru ball to Wiesenfarth, now running towards goal one-on-one. Trying to stop the rush, Meraz brought down Wiesenfarth outside the box. As the last defender on a breakaway, Meraz was issued a red card, with 10-man East Bay forced to sub out a field player and bring on backup goalkeeper Jose Majano.
That second goal finally came in the 63rd minute after some magic from Danny Cuevas. Getting a ball on the wing, Cuevas made his way down the line and through a pair of Stompers defenders. Cuevas then turned back and played the ball into the box, where Wiesenfarth was making a run. Wiesenfarth slotted the ball into the back of the net for a 2-0 lead.
More crafty play put the game away 20 minutes later. After the Stompers cleared the ball with a header, Bradley Burkhart responded with a header of his own down the left side. Manolo Piña collected the ball and – spotting Lomeli behind him – knocked a heel pass to his teammate. Lomeli saw Majano out far from goal and launched a laser shot from 35 yards out. The ball sailed over Majano’s head and into the goal, making the final count 3-0.
With the win, Sacramento moves to 2-2 on the season and into a tie with the rival Sonoma County Sol for second place in the Golden Gate Conference with six points.
Sacramento Gold FC now enters the first bye week of the 2017 season. The next time the Gold takes the field will be on the road against the Sol on Saturday, April 29. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Casa Grande High School in Petaluma.
Sacramento Gold FC: G Philip Bru, D Fernando De Alba, Erick Vega (Rene Piña 78'), Zach Ulrich (Selvin Bonilla 69'), Alex Paz (Bradley Burkhart 75'), M Danny Lomeli, Jose Martinez, Sammy Gonzalez (Roberto Mendoza 46'), Danny Cuevas, F Matthew Wiesenfarth (Luis Sanchez 79'), Evan Alvarez (Manolo Piña 60')
East Bay Stompers: G Victor Meraz (Red Card 42'), D Diego Valencia, Hanta Coulibaly, Augustine Mccabe (Martin Sierra 79'), Thomas Rodda (Jose Majano 42'), M Brian Gomez, Arturo Gomez, Jesse Kehoe (Aaron Cortés 79'), Zanin Mahic, F Emanuel Vazquez, Victor Parra
SAC – Matt Wiesenfarth (Unassisted) 15’
SAC – Matt Wiesenfarth (Danny Cuevas) 63’
SAC – Danny Lomeli (Manolo Piña) 83’
EBS – Victor Meraz (Red Card) 42’
SAC – Zach Ulrich 45'
SAC – Jose Martinez 83'
MAN OF THE MATCH:
SAC – F Matt Wiesenfarth
(Photo by Vanessa S. Nelson)