Sacramento Gold FC's big win on Sunday has increased its hold in second place in the Golden Gate Conference (but by no means clinched it). Meanwhile, the two other conferences are seeing real separation between those making a real push for the playoffs and those who are already looking towards next year. Here's a recap of last week's games, as well as a look at what's in store this week.
GOLDEN GATE CONFERENCE
HAYWARD, Calif. -- The East Bay FC Stompers managed to steal a point back late against a 10-man Napa Valley 1839 FC squad on Saturday night when Stompers captain Jesse Kehoe found the head of Michael Molinari on a free kick. Molinari’s header made it 1-1 in the 88th minute, earning the Stompers a late point, and denying Napa its first NPSL win.
The game was deadlocked at 0-0 for much of the contest, until Napa’s Bryan Marin managed to put a rebound in the back of the net to give Napa the lead, and for the next several minutes it appeared the visitors might finally earn their first win since joining the NPSL this season, until Molinari’s goal leveled things as the game came to a close.
For both teams, the result felt disappointing.
“We should have come out with all three points,” said Stompers Head Coach Martin Sierra. “We missed a good six or seven one-on-one’s, you put two of those in and we come out a winner.”
MESA, Ariz. -- Led by a Joaquin Gomez hat-trick, FC Arizona, Southwest Conference leaders, extended its undefeated streak to 14 matches following an impressive 7-0 victory over Corinthians USA in its final regular season home match at Mesa Community College.
With the victory, FC Arizona is 10-0-4 has now qualified for the National Premier Soccer League playoffs. The club has scored 42 goals while conceding just three goals.
The action started early for FC Arizona with a 5th minute goal from George Jermy on a Alejandro Aguilar cross. FC Arizona doubled its lead in the 15th minute on another cross-and-header this time from Paul LaMarca to Joqauin Gomez.
The third goal was scored in the 29th minute when Gomez played a through ball to Ari Sanchez. He took a touch and calmly slotted home the shot. Aguilar scored the fourth goal in the 32nd minute from a David Paul cross.
RIVERSIDE, Calif. -- The 2017 NPSL season is winding down and Orange County FC continued their journey toward hosting a playoff game after a 2-0 win away from home against SoCal SC on June 18th.
Staforde Palmer gave OCFC a 1-0 lead fourteen minutes into the match after receiving a pass from midfielder Tristan Weber.
In the previous meeting between the two teams it was OCFC that fell behind early but this time head coach Paul Caligiuri started the match with tactical changes that paid off quickly.
“I wasn’t concerned about the bad start in our previous encounter with SoCal,” said Caligiuri. “I told the guys to play with confidence and we changed things up by starting three strikers up top. We wanted to be more offensive minded in the beginning.”
BREMERTON, Wash. -- It was another tightly contested contest in the NPSL Northwest tonight as visiting Kitsap SC snatched a 1-0 victory on the road against Spokane. The two sides played to a 1-1 draw in their season opener in mid-May in Bremerton.
Both sides had a multitude of chances in tonight’s match. Sixteen minutes into the match a turnover in Kitsap’s end of the pitch gave Spokane one of their best chances of the night with Nick Hamer getting the ball behind the back line, but goalkeeper Paul-Andre Guerin came out to the top of the box to challenge him one-on-one and got enough of the ball to foil the opportunity.
Bryan Hernandez again had a stellar night at the other end for the Shadow, making several brilliant stops. A free kick from the right side by Mike Scharf was headed under the bar in the 27th minute before Hernandez tipped it over the bar.
A turnover, though, was the difference. Kitsap claimed the ball at midfield and Hamidou Kante put Jorge Ruiz behind the Shadow defense, leaving Hernandez in a difficult one-on-one scenario that Ruiz finished from about 13 yards in the 35th minute.
BREMERTON, Wash. -- In a back-and-forth contest, the Shadow Men's First Team found themselves trailing from the early minutes and in the end were unable to break their current skid, dropping a fourth consecutive match in a 2-1 National Premier Soccer League loss to FCM Portland Sunday at Spokane Falls CC Stadium.
The visitors jumped on the board quickly with a goal six minutes into the match by Luis Galeano.
Spokane nearly pulled even just four minutes later when Tyler Smith took a free kick about 25 yards out on the left side that the goalkeeper spilled in the six, but Dorian Lair was able to scramble quickly enough to collect the ball before a Shadow player could knock it home.
Zack Hamer had his first of several chances on the day in the 25th minute when he battled with two defenders at the right corner of the six, muscling himself enough space to get a shot past the keeper only to see an FCM defender clear it away.