Around the West: Stakes Raised


While Sacramento Gold FC took part in the only Golden Gate Conference game of the week, there was still plenty of action ahead of a jam-packed weekend. Here's a recap of last week's games, as well as a look at what's in store this week.

GOLDEN GATE CONFERENCE

SOUTHWEST CONFERENCE

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. -- Playing very competitive soccer, the Southern California Sports Club held conference leaders FC Arizona scoreless for 80 minutes, but a late goal of midfielder Chris Ramsell gave the visitors a 1-0 win when the teams met last Saturday (June 3) at the Fairplex for the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL).

Despite the defeat, SoCal SC remains at the fifth place at the West Southwest conference with 14 points (four wins, two ties, five losses). The team has five more matches on the regular season to climb at least one more step on the division and advance to the playoffs for the second straight year. Currently, Albion Pros SC holds the fourth place with 21 points.

FC Arizona is the top-seeded team of the conference with 30 points (nine wins, three ties) and one of the two undefeated sides of the division. They also have the best defense of the West Southwest, having conceded only two goals, and the second-best offense, with 34 goals scored.

“Unfortunately we didn’t get the result we wanted”, SoCal SC’s captain Eric Gonzalez said after the match. “We gave the best effort we could. It was a complete game in exception for putting away the chances that we had. I’m very proud of the guys and of the effort. We came in playing against the first placed team of the conference and gave it all we had. It was an equal game. We can build on the good things we did tonight and move on to impress on the next couple of games”.

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(Photo by Raul Martinez)

LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- No recap available at this time.

IRVINE, Calif. -- Week after week everyone hears that OCFC are unbeaten but now the pressure is on Paul Caligiuri's men to remain in one of the top two positions of NPSL’s Southwest Conference after a convincing win over Riverside on June 3rd at Portola High School.

In the previous meeting of the two teams, OCFC tied Riverside 2-2 away from home but had to play the majority of the match with ten men.

This time things would be different in Orange County.

Connor Gordon put OCFC in the lead in the 17th minute after some excellent ball movement and put his shot past Alonso Lara.

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(Photo by Jessica Di Donato)

OXNARD, Calif. -- No recap available at this time.

NORTHWEST CONFERENCE

SPOKANE, Wash. -- The Shadow Men's First Team played to a scoreless draw in their National Premier Soccer League home opener with current Northwest Conference leader PDX FC.

At home, the conference’s two unbeatens squared off for the first time. Both teams had chances in the first half, but the Shadow defense stood firm in the second and pushed the advantage in play to the hosts for the final half-hour.

Unfortunately, the Shadow were unable to find that final touch to nab the win, settling for a draw for the third time in four outings as they moved to 1-0-3 with the stalemate. PDX is now 2-0-1. The result allowed OSA FC to move into a tie for first with Saturday's 2-1 win against Kitsap.

Both sides had dramatic close calls in the opening minutes that would have changed the contest. Just three minutes into the match a shot from PDX striker Francisco Lopez forced a save from Bryan Hernandez. Another three minutes later a corner served in from the left by Jesse Retan (Whitworth/Cheney) was nodded down by defender Spencer Wolfe (Whitworth) with pace only to see it denied.

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(Photo courtesy Spokane Shadow)

BREMERTON, Wash. -- OSA FC (1-1-1) visited Kitsap Soccer Club (1-0-1) in Bremerton, WA on Saturday night in NPSL action, after a two week break following their U.S. Open Cup second round loss to Reno 1868. Goalkeeper Paul-Andre Guerin made his first start for Kitsap after arriving for summer break from his freshman season at Cal State Fullerton. Born in France, Guerin made two starts for Gazelec Ajaccio in the French Ligue 1 before attending Fullerton. Starting OSA defender Sean Russell makes a return to Kitsap, whom he played for previously. It was a hard-fought match for 90 minutes, but OSA FC earned the three points as they snatched a 2-1 win courtesy of a brace by Eli Gordley.

The opening minutes of the match were pretty even as both teams tried to get acclimated to the rhythm of the game, but Kitsap held most of the initial chances, including an early corner kick that came to nothing. The home side continued to push early, which paid off in the 8th minute when Sean Bowman notched the game’s first goal for Kitsap, thanks to an excellent ball by midfielder Ryan Hill. This was the first goal that Kitsap has scored in the first half of a match so far this season.

OSA tried to get back into it quickly, earning a corner kick just after the goal, but they were unable to do anything with the set piece. In the 16th minute, they nearly had a golden opportunity on goal when Kitsap goalkeeper Guerin came flying out of the box and misjudged his tackle, but OSA forward Eli Gordley’s shot was blocked by defender Joe Harris and eventually cleared. But his team came right back with another near-chance when Mori Tsuchiya’s long shot bounces off the crossbar; a few inches down and that would have been a brilliant goal for OSA.

Despite the early dominance by Kitsap, OSA continued to press for a goal after conceding. Forward Eli Gordley had a solid shot on goal around the 25th minute, but it was easily saved by Guerin. Fewer opportunities in the final 15 minutes of the half made both teams a bit more inclined to fouling out of frustration, and the first yellow card of the game went to Kitsap defender Joe Harris in the 36th minute after a dangerous aerial challenge.

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(Photo by Kurt W. DeVoe)

PORTLAND, Ore. -- No recap available at this time.

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