Sacramento earns wet win in Napa

NAPA, Calif. – Sacramento Gold FC slogged it out through pouring rain and bounced back from an early own goal to record an impressive 4-1 road win over Napa Valley 1839 Saturday at Dodd Stadium.

The Gold thought they had gotten on the board in the 11th minute, when Chase Gray managed to get around a defender in the box and slot the ball past Napa goalkeeper Javier Valdez-Raya. However, the goal was waved off due to a foul on Gray.

Four minutes later, it was Napa’s first true threat. Luis Ochoa made a run up from the back and rifled a shot at from the right of the box. Gold goalkeeper Hector Grajeda managed to parry the ball off the post and out for a corner, which was cleared.

The deadlock was broken in the 24th minute thanks to an unlucky break for the visitors. Salvador Gomez sent in a low cross from the left side of the field. The ball ricocheted off a Sacramento defender and past Grajeda, who could do nothing to prevent Napa from taking a 1-0 lead.

That advantage lasted for ten minutes. In the 34th minute, pressure from Gray led to a turnover just outside the 1839 box. Danny Cuevas collected the ball and found Riley Kraft, whose shot beat Valdez-Raya on the left side and tied the score at 1-1.

Just five minutes later, Kraft got loose up the middle, sprinting past a pair of defenders. Kraft again went for the left side, but this time Valdez-Raya was able to deflect it out of bounds. While Napa cleared the ensuing corner kick, Nico Gonzalez got the ball back and worked a give-and-go with Kraft to get free on the right side of the box. Gonzalez sent a pass across goal, where Gray tapped it in to give the Gold a 2-1 lead going into halftime.

Gray nearly doubled the lead in the 59th minute, when an errant pass left him with a one-on-one chance down the middle. However, Valdez-Raya managed to stifle the shot.

That attempt was sandwiched between a series of close chances off set pieces generated by relentless pressure by Napa. The closest of those came from a wide shot that was stopped by Grejada, but saw the rebound go to a Napa player on the opposite side of the box. He fired it to a teammate in point-blank range in front of goal, but the Gold defense was able to block the strike.

Sacramento would weather the storm and respond in the 74th minute. Gray got some room on the left sideline and sent a long cross to the right side of the box, where Cuevas was wide open. Cuevas calmly collected the ball and set himself up a shot, which sailed into the net and made the count 3-1.

After surviving some more pressure from the home squad, the Gold put the finishing touch on the game in the 85th minute. Kraft was sprung free up the right side, with Alexis Dionisio joining in to make it a two-on-one. Kraft crossed it into to Dionisio, who hit a one-time shot into the net to up the lead to 4-1.

Sacramento Gold FC will now go on another bye week before beginning a hectic June schedule. The final third of the regular season begins on the first day of the month at home against Turlock’s Academica SC. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Capital Christian High School.