TURLOCK, Calif. – Down by two goals with less than ten minutes to play, Sacramento Gold FC stunned Academica SC by scoring three times to earn its first win of the season, 5-4 Saturday at Academica Fields.
Danny Mititelu's stoppage time header capped the incredible rally, which kept Sacramento's playoff hopes alive.It became apparent this would be a wild match just two minutes in, when Gabe Padilla got a breakaway opportunity. Padilla's hot was deflected out, but on the ensuing corner kick, Danny Cuevas found Padilla on the right post. Padilla headed it back across goal, where Clay Silvas headed it in to give the Gold a 1-0 lead.
That lead would only last until the 14th minute and be erased the same way on its earned. On a corner kick, Desmond Madrigal's quick shot was deflected into the net, tying the score at 1-1.
The home squad pulled ahead only five minutes later, when Jorge Carmona made a nice run down the left side before sending a quick pass to the front of goal. Cody Golbad got his head to it make it a sudden 2-1 scoreline.
It would remain that way until the 35th minute. Nico Gonzalez dished it to Silvas, who found Aroon Molina at the top of the box. Molina took a touch and fired a shot that sneaked into the left side of the goal and tied the score at 2-2, which how it was at halftime.
However, it only stayed that way for four minutes into the second half. Golbad got free thanks to a pass that threaded the defense and was able to poke the ball past the goalkeeper to make it 3-2.
The game opened up from there, with both teams exchanging chances and fouls. But, the scoreline wouldn't change again until the 71st minute, when Ramiro Ceja's deflected long-distance effort found the back of the net, increasing the lead to 4-2 and seemingly putting the game out of reach.
Sacramento got back into the game thanks to a sudden scoring outburst led by Roberto Mendoza, who came on as a substitute right after Academica's fourth goal. In the 82nd minute, Mendoza made a nifty run down the left side of the box before crossing the ball to the front of the goal. Fellow substitute Johnny Muresan ran onto it, smashing it into the net to cut the lead to 4-3.
Just a few minutes later, Mendoza scored arguably the best goal of the season so far. Kaba Alkebulan used his chest to deflect a pass right into the path of a running Mendoza, who smashed a rocket of a shot into the upper corner of net. Only minutes after staring at a fifth straight loss, Sacramento incredibly found itself tied 4-4 with all the momentum.
The Gold kept pushing, desperately seeking all three points. In stoppage time, Sacramento won a free kick about 30 yards from goal. Gonzalez lofted a pass into the box, where Mititelu rose to meet it. Mititelu headed the ball, sending it to the right of the goalkeeper and into the back of the next. As the Gold sideline erupted, the visitors celebrated snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. Sacramento's 5-4 comeback win was made official just a few moments after the restart.
Finally with momentum for the first time all season, Sacramento will now return home for the first time in a month to host El Farolito on Saturday, June 9. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Capital Christian High School.