As Sacramento Gold FC nears the halfway point in the 2017 NPSL season, it remains among the main contenders for a playoff berth. Across the West Region, the races are beginning to shape, as the stretch run looms large. Here's a recap of last week's games, as well as a look at what's in store this week.
GOLDEN GATE CONFERENCE
SAN LEANDRO, Calif. -- CD Aguiluchos USA played host to the April 30th NPSL National Game of the Week at Burrell Field in San Leandro, California. NPSL newcomer Napa Valley 1839 FC traveled south to play the undefeated Golden Gate Conference leaders. This was the second meeting ever between the two clubs. The first one ended 2-1 in favor of the Aguiluchos in Napa Valley’s inaugural game.
The match got off to a quick start as the visitors took the lead inside the first two minutes of the game. Gabriel Borges opened up the scoring as he found himself unmarked at the back post to fire Napa into the lead.
A few hard fouls from both sides early on slowed the game down just a bit before the Aguiluchos found the equalizer on a free kick in the 13th minute. Defender Jose Cabeza played a perfect ball into the box that found Ahmad Hatifie’s head for the equalizer to pull the score back to level at one goal apiece.
For the next 30 minutes, the Conference leaders, CD Aguiluchos, dominated the majority of the chances and the possession. Napa Valley had to play with nearly all 11 men behind the ball and inside their own half, looking only for counter attack chances.
TEMPE, Ariz. -- In a battle of the undefeateds, it seems fitting that the match would end in a 1-1 draw.
The two goals in this match were scored on opposite ends with FC Arizona's Manuel Rivera finding the back of the net in the 15th minute on a penalty and Riverside Coras defender Robert Camacho scoring in the second minute of stoppage time.
"Arizona is a fantastic team," said Jose Esqueda, head coach of Riverside Coras. "Playing in front of 2,000 fans, who doesn't want to play in front of that. Super hard fought battle. It was a fair result. These are the two best scoring offenses and two best defenses in the league. It's a game of a couple inches and those inches carried us to a draw."
Riverside came out strong early one and looked to go up a goal in the minute, but a header inside the box was just wide. FC Arizona responded well with goal just minute later when Riverside was flagged for a hand ball in the box. Rivera calmly slotted home the attempt.
LAKE FOREST, Calif. -- Entering this match there was that feeling where Orange County FC would have a tough task on their hands due to hosting a team that had yet to win a game this season, but SC Corinthians found things to be quite difficult as OCFC rolled to a 8-1 home win.
In the first half it was the Staforde Palmer and Connor Gordon show as both players each recorded two goals and one assist. Palmer struck first when he received a pass from Gordon in the fifth minute to give OCFC a 1-0 lead.
The Corinthians defense was all over the place and they weren't able to make adjustments as Gordon doubled the lead to 2-0 four minutes later when he received a through ball from Alessandro Canale. Gordon added his second goal of the match in the 25th minute when he received a pass from Palmer after some nice ball movement.
The first half scoring continued ten minutes later when Palmer got a hold of a rebound off a Michael Bryant throw-in that was parried by keeper Henry Martinez. The English striker showed his finishing skills as he fired the ball into the roof of the net to make the score 4-0.
SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. -- The Southern California Sports Club came up short for the third straight game as the team was defeated 2-1 by Albion PROS Saturday, April 29, at the Fairplex in the club’s seventh National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) match of the season.
The setback putted SoCal in an unconformable sixth place in the West Region’s Southwest Conference with eight points (two wins, three losses, two ties), behind Riverside Coras (19), FC Arizona (17), Orange County FC (17), Temecula FC (10) and Albion (9).
“The game had two very different halves,” said SoCal SC Head Coach Daniel Musatti. “On the first half, we had a very defensive approach, but we changed thing on the second, played on their field and controlled the game against a very experienced team. We scored one goal and could have scored more. We are not where we wanted to be now, but we know that we still depend only on our results to make it to the next round.”
Albion PROS scored first, at the 35th minute, with Polish defender Jakub Waligorski converting a penalty kick. The visiting team found the back of the net again on the last minute of the first half with Brazilian forward Luan Oliveira.