As the end of the 2017 NPSL regular season draws near for Sacramento Gold FC, the Golden Gate Conference, and the Southwest Conference, teams from up north are just beginning. The Northwest Conference schedule kicked off Saturday, with plenty of new teams and a few surprises. 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. -- A Saturday evening in Wine Country turned out to be full of firsts for the 2017 East Bay FC Stompers.
It was their first-ever visit to Memorial Stadium to play Napa Valley 1839 FC, their newest rival in the NPSL Golden Gate Conference. It was the first time defensive stalwart Luigi Castillo and goalkeeper Marcus Rojas made it onto the field for East Bay FC this season. Forward Greivin Pacheco played in his first game for the Stompers since 2014.
And most importantly, the Stompers found their first win of the season as goals by Pacheco and Zano Mahic powered a second-half comeback that pushed East Bay FC past Napa by a 2-1 final.
"I am relieved," said East Bay FC head coach Martin Sierra. "The men have been working hard. This is a great reward for them."
LAKE FOREST, Calif. -- The 2017 NPSL season has been exciting so far for newcomers OCFC and FC Arizona but there was more excitement going into the showdown on Saturday night as both teams were unbeaten.
The first meeting between the two teams ended in a scoreless draw in the desert back in March. The second meeting ended in a 0-0 tie as well but OCFC head coach Paul Caligiuri was quick to notice the differences between the two matches.
“We performed better against FC Arizona this time in comparison to the time we played them in Mesa,” said Caligiuri.
“In order to be successful, we definitely had to focus on the final third of the field. Particularly in the box with that final touch, pass, and shot. It just didn’t happen for us tonight.”
LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- No recap available at this time.
OXNARD, Calif. -- The Oxnard Guerreros were expecting more from their homecoming this past Saturday after playing back-to-back road games and capturing four points from the two, but ultimately fell to an in-form Albion SC PROS side who were able to extend their winning streak to three games off of goals from Amani Walker and Michael Sauers in a game that finished 2-1.
“It was a battle today. It’s a much improved team then when we saw them the first time and they (Guerreros) gave us a couple of scary moments, but obviously every point is so valuable in this league and you just never know… we are very happy with the result,” Albion Coach Ziggy Korytoski said following their 2-1 win over Oxnard, and a win that gave them a full six points over the new NPSL side.
A new-look Guerreros side started the game slow and allowed Albion to control and maintain possession for a majority of the first half. The Albion attack constantly attacked the goal mouth with a bombardment of long balls to the tall and rangy forward Amani Walker.
Although Albion threatened for most of the first half, Guerreros goalkeeper Chase McQueen was up for the task as he would make two vital saves that would keep the score deadlocked at 0-0.
TEMECULA, Calif. -- No recap available at this time.
HILLSBORO, Ore. -- PDX FC opened their inaugural 2017 season with a 3-1 win over OSA FC at Hillsboro Stadium on Saturday night. After weeks of preseason practices and games, PDX FC was finally able to kick off their first season in the NPSL in front of their home crowd.
Forward Nick Evans opened the scoring for PDX in the 13th minute after a mistake at the back by OSA. Evans gathered a loose ball at the top of the 18 yard-box and calmly chipped the keeper to the far post. The goal by Evans was the first in the history of the club and gave PDX FC an important 1-0 lead early in the match.
Winger Bennett Lehner doubled PDX FC’s lead just 13 minutes later from a screamer into the top corner. Matthew Paine won a corner and played the ball short to Lehner, who beat one defender and hit a rocket to the far post to double the lead in the 26 minute. Lehner added his second goal of the game in the 36th minute after his shot deflected off the underside of the keeper into the net. Just over half an hour into PDX FC’s first-ever NPSL match, the expansion side were flying high, up 3-0.
OSA got a goal back at the stroke of halftime after defender Gustavo Torres committed a foul in the box and the referee awarded a penalty kick. OSA forward Hamza Haddadi sent Goalie Oscar Torres the wrong way as he went straight down the middle with his penalty kick. PDX FC took a 3-1 lead to the locker room.
BONNEY LAKE, Wash. -- National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) Northwest Conference action on Saturday night saw the debut of Pierce County FC and the return to the pitch of OSA FC after their big mid-week US Open Cup win over the Sounders U23.
Both Puget Sound area sides were handed defeats.
Cameron LaFleur scored just 5 minutes into the match on an assist from Ryo Asai to give FCM Portland the lead. They took that advantage into the 47th minute when they doubled it on a goal from Mathew Sanchez to make it 2-0 visitors.
Pierce County got their first-ever goal in the 84th minute when they converted a penalty kick by Christian Giuffrida. Stats.