Saturday’s matchup between Sacramento Gold FC and CD Aguiluchos USA is easily one of the season’s most anticipated games. The match will feature the 2010 NPSL national champions as they host the perennial contenders from the Bay Area.
Sacramento boasts one of the region’s top midfields thanks to the dynamic duo of Alfonso Motagalvan and Nico Gonzalez. Motagalvan, a native of Gilroy, California, played for UC Santa Barbara before joining the professional ranks with Sacramento Republic FC of the USL. Gonzalez, originally from Lodi, California, played for UCLA before starring for Dalum IF in the Danish Second Division.
Also returning to the Gold is Daniel Cuevas, last year’s Golden Gate Conference Player of the Year and a West Region’s Best XI selection. Cuevas is a Sacramento native who played in Mexico in Liga MX after spending time with the U.S. youth national team. He also happens to be one of the side’s most versatile players, excelling in attacking positions like forward, winger, and outside midfielder.
The Gold were able to form their team early, allowing them to get some quality exhibitions against high-level competition. The highlight had to be a match against Sacramento Republic FC that saw the USL side take the 2-1 result in just the last six minutes of the game.
The Gold are expected to showcase an exciting and attractive style of play that brings together a stout defense and a potent attack. A return to the playoffs and a deep run to the national finals is certainly not out of the question.
The hard work of making the playoffs begins this weekend as the Gold face a fellow title contender in CD Aguiluchos USA. Gold head coach Ruben Mora is expecting a great match, something that will be greatly enjoyed by fans and supporters.
“We are expecting a very strong and organized CD Aguiluchos. Every time we face off, we end up in exciting matches that are most often decided late in the game. We have a history of high scoring games between us and respect their organization. We already know it's going to be a hard-fought match.”
CDA Chairman Roger Amaya agrees.
“We are excited to play this game. Playing the Gold is one of the hardest game of the season. Versus the Gold anything can happen as they are a very good team. We always have respect for them and know that it will be a very good game. The real winners will be the fans as they will get to enjoy a great show on the field.”
Aguiluchos is, after all, a team that has is always in contention for conference and region titles. Consistency is the name of the game for CDA as they return nearly all of their key players, including two-time Golden Boot winner Simon Rawnsley.
“I’m glad to have this group of players,” Amaya added. “Four seasons with same group is special as they know each other very well. Continuity is the style of our game.”
Rising to the top of the Golden Gate won’t be easy for either side as the level of competition continues to grow in the West.
“Last season was a very hard season,” Amaya continued. “This season will be very hard too. With the new team the conference will be more attractive and competitive. I personally would like to welcome Academica SC, El Farolito, and FC Davis into our great conference, I have the opportunity to spend time with these three owners and they are great business partners.”
“Our conference has always been extremely tough and, in our opinion, the strongest in the West by sending the winner of the West to the national playoffs for the past eight years, winning two national championships in those eight years,” Mora concluded. “We feel that the pressure will be only higher now because we know the three new teams in our conference, FC Davis, El Farolito, and Academica SC, are bringing some special talent and will be working to win the conference, making us all even more competitive. We are happy and excited to have the new teams and there will be less room for error now than before.”
The journey towards more hardware starts Saturday with this epic battle between two West Region heavyweights.