SACRAMENTO, Calif. – A close and chippy contest did not end in Sacramento's favor, as the 10-man Gold fell to El Farilito 1-0 Saturday at Capital Christian High School.
The loss came despite the strong efforts of Hector Grajeda, who made several great saves to keep Sacramento in the match.
Both squads took a bit of time to feel each other out. But one they were familiarized, the action started to pick up. In the 25th minute, Johnny Muresan got a one-on-one fast break opportunity, but the Farolito keeper was able to meet him at the top of the box and stop the chance.
Things started getting heated in the 33rd minute, when Aaron Molina was elbowed in the head during a battle for the ball. As Molina had to leave the field, both teams exchanged a series of pushes and shoves.
The visitors took advantage of the chaos three minutes later, when Edson Cardona knocked a deflected shot into the net to make it 1-0 Farolito, which is where the score stood at halftime.
Photo by Vanessa S. Nelson.
The Gold nearly evened things up in the opening minutes of the second half. Sacramento worked the ball down the right side of the box, with Clay Silvas firing a pass to a running Muresan in front of a wide open net. However, Muresan missed the opportunity just wide.
One of the Farolito players was knocked to the ground during the offensive series and remained there until the shot was missed. As the official went to check on him, both teams began to group up and engage in some heated discussions. During the several minutes the match was stopped, Alex Paz was issued a red card, reducing the Gold to just ten men for the remainder of the match.
From there, Farolito was able to control the majority of the match and chances. A free kick that clanked off the post and several one-on-ones that involved beating the defense with a nice pass were among the great opportunities Farolito had to score. However, Grajeda was there every time, swooping in at the last minute to snuff out the chances and keep Sacramento within reach.
Sacramento did have chances, the closest one nearly resulting in the goal of the season. A cross into the box found the towering Steven Wright, who attempted a scissor kick. The ball nearly went in, but instead hit the post and bounced out.
Throughout the rest of the match, tempers flared again and again. Paz was not the only ejection of the match, being followed by one of his coaches and a Farolito player who threw a water bottle onto the field from the bench.
Up next for Sacramento is a rare Sunday night matchup on June 17, the date picked for Round 2 of the Causeway Classico against FC Davis. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Aggie Stadium.