(Photo by John Virgen)
HAYWARD, Calif. – A tough road battle ended in heartbreaking fashion for Sacramento Gold FC, after a chance to take three points from Pioneer Stadium was missed and stoppage time goal was given up in a 2-1 loss to the East Bay Stompers Saturday.
Danny Cuevas tallied the lone goal for the Gold.
It was the Stompers who started the night's scoring in the 31st minute. After a stretch of possession and missed chances for Sacramento, East Bay broke on a counter attack. A pass freed up Jorge Burton up the middle, where he beat Gold goalkeeper John Connolly one-on-one to make it 1-0 for the home squad.
East Bay had multiple chances to increase its lead, and would have done so if not for key saves by Connolly. In the 41st minute, Burton got free again down the left side. But this time, Connolly stood tall and deflected the powerful shot out for a corner kick. Then, minutes into the second half, a giveaway forced Connolly to go parallel and block a shot with his foot.
The pendulum eventually swung back to the Gold in the 55th minute thanks to Cuevas, who made a nice run down that same left side. Going towards the near post, Cuevas fired a shot that somehow squeaked by Stompers goalkeeper Marcus Rojas and tied the game at 1-1.
Cuevas set up what might have been the game-winning goal with five minutes to play with an even better run, which was ended when Rojas took him down in the box. The official whistled for a penalty, and Andrew Robles stepped up to take the potential game-winning kick. However, Rojas redeemed himself by saving the penalty and keeping his squad in the game.
The missed kick would come back to haunt the Gold in the first minute of stoppage time, when Arturo Gomez found space on top of the box and fired a shot straight into the lower right corner of the goal to make it 2-1 and send Sacramento home disappointed.
Despite the loss, Sacramento remains in second place in the Golden Gate Conference with nine points. However, the third place Sonoma County Sol (who face the conference-leading CD Aguiluchos USA tomorrow) are only one point back with three fewer games played. Meanwhile, the fourth place Stompers have climbed to within two points of the Gold with a game in hand.
Sacramento Gold FC now returns home to heal in its second bye week of the season. When Sacramento returns, it will be at home against the rival Sol on Saturday June 3. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Capital Christian High School.(Photo by Vanessa S. Nelson)