Sacramento Gold FC returns from its first bye week of the 2017 NPSL season looking to make moves in the Golden Gate Conference. Meanwhile, there were some interesting results while Sacramento was sitting out. Here's a recap of last week's games, as well as a look at what's in store this week.
GOLDEN GATE CONFERENCE
NAPA, Calif. -- The first-ever Wine Country Derby between Napa Valley 1839 FC and Sonoma County Sol ended in spectacular fashion Saturday night in Napa Memorial Stadium. In the waning minutes of the game, Napa was down 2-1 when striker and captain Bryan Marin found himself sent off with a second yellow card for a slide tackle on Sol forward Omar Nuno.
Without their leading scorer, Napa appeared destined to add a tally to the loss column until the 89th minute, when Francisco Mendoza received a through ball all alone on the right side of the box. Catching goalkeeper Sean Taufer off of his line, Mendoza powered a shot past him into the goal, and the stands erupted as Napa equalized in the game’s dying moments, netting them a point in the Golden Gate standings.
“I have been working on this shot for many years,” said Mendoza after the game. “I still can’t believe it...I’ve never done something like this before in my life.”
For Mendoza and Napa, it was a draw that felt like a win due to the second half comeback. The first half was all Sonoma, starting in the third minute when Taylor Varnadore headed a cross past Napa goalkeeper Roberto Llamas, giving the Sol an early lead. Varnadore would eventually leave the game after suffering a serious cut on his face, and would be taken to a nearby hospital for stitches. His injuries were reported not to be serious.
(Photo by Don Lex http://luckydcukimages.com/nv1839fc)
HAYWARD, Calif. -- The CD Aguiluchos USA traveled to Pioneer Stadium to play local county rivals, the East Bay FC Stompers, for their second of three meetings of the year. Since the Stompers moved to the East Bay last year, they have yet to defeat their rivals. Leg 2 of the 2017 Alameda County Derby was no different.
The Aguiluchos opened the game with some really good goal scoring chances, but failed to convert on them. The action started in the 7th minute when the lethal attacking duo of Aguiluchos linked up as Ross Middlemiss slipped in Simon Rawnsley with a great through ball that he failed to finish. Then again in the 11th minute and the 16th minute, the Aguiluchos attack put them in dangerous areas, but their attacks failed to test the Stompers late replacement goal keeper, Alejandro Escobedo.
For the remainder of the first half, the Stompers built their way back into the game against the topside in the Golden Gate Conference. East Bay got into some good areas on the field throughout the first half, but were not successful in pulling the trigger. Instead they tried to pass their way through the entire Aguiluchos defense.
The best chance of the half for the Stompers came in the 30th minute when Arturo Gomez whipped in a good free kick that found the head of Zanin Mahic, but the ball went just wide of the post.
RIVERSIDE, Calif. -- Already sitting atop the Southwestern Conference standings heading into Sunday night’s National Premier Soccer League National Game of the Week, Riverside Coras showed it’s grown even deeper and more dangerous with the return of Fernando Cabello.
The center back made a big impact in his season debut, finding the back of the net twice in the first 25 minutes to pace Coras in a 3-0 win over SC Corinthians USA at UC Riverside.
“It feels great to be able to win and see the fans support us,” said Cabello, a Mexican national, whose return to the team had been delayed by visa issues. “I actually didn’t do it on my own; this is a team effort and they were able to assist me in scoring.”
With the win, Coras improved to 6-0 on the season with its fourth shutout, while Corinthians fell to 0-4-2. In its first home match in more than a month after three straight road matches, Coras is yet to allow a goal at home in three matches this season.
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Goals from Ignacio Coba, Alejandro Aguilar, and a second-half brace helped FC Arizona roll to a 4-0 victory over Temecula FC on Saturday night. The victory is the fifth in-a-row for FC Arizona who is currently first in the Southwest Conference.
Feeding off the energy of the home crowd, FC Arizona jumped out to an early lead when Ignacio Coba curled in a free kick on the edge of the box. FC Arizona pushed for the second goal, but they were thwarted by a stingy and organized Temecula FC defense.
At the start of the second half, Temecula FC almost scored the equalizer on a dangerous free kick that was headed for the far post. Goalkeeper Andrew Weber was quick to react and he saved the dangerous shot.
In the 58th minute FC Arizona found the back of the net when Mexia forced a turnover in the midfield. He then charged up the right wing and played a square ball to Alejandro Aguilar who calmly finished his chance
SAN DIEGO, Calif. -- Orange County FC were looking to remain unbeaten as they traveled south to face Albion PROS, last season’s conference winners. Led by coach Ziggy Korytoski, Albion were the more physical team playing in front of their home crowd at Mission Bay High School.
The first half was scoreless but physical play from Albion got yellow cards for Michael Sauers and Sean Callahan but in the last minutes of the first half, Albion were reduced to ten men when Travis Nicklaw was given a straight red card for elbowing OCFC left back Daniel Yo in the face.
Anthony Morales was brought on and OCFC received terrible news as Daniel Yo was diagnosed with a broken nose.
Albion outshot OCFC with attempts on goal and shots on target but they were unable to beat OCFC on a certain statistic: goals.
SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. -- The Southern California Sports Club displayed its powerful offense once again last Saturday, but some defensive mistakes costed the team another victory as SoCal SC tied 4-4 with expansion side Oxnard Guerreros at the Fairplex in the clubs’ first-ever National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) match-up.
With two wins, two losses, and two ties on its first regular season matches, SoCal SC is in fourth place in the Southwest Conference with eight points. The Oxnard Guerreros come right after, at fifth, with seven points.
“Our offense is clicking with ten goals scored over the last three matches, but unfortunately our defensive mistakes costed us another win,” said SoCal SC Head Coach Daniel Musatti. “We worked hard, controlled possession and built four goals, but in the other hand we gave four goals to them. We are trying to fix our defensive issues during our training sessions and also working on some different combinations to see if we can present a better performance. We are in a position where we still depend only on ourselves to advance to the playoffs and the next two matches are really important for us.”
The Oxnard Guerreros were the first to find the back of the net on the match with Raul Yepez scoring at the 25th minute. Before halftime, SoCal SC tied with forward Edmilson Santos shooting from outside the box at the 43rd minute.