10-man Gold drop heartbreaker

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – On a night where several lightning strikes pierced the sky, it was one strike that undid a heroic effort from a 10-man Sacramento Gold FC, which fell 1-0 to Academica SC Saturday at Capital Christian High School.

The action picked up in only the fifth minute, when Sacramento’s Riley Kraft made a nifty run up the left side of the field. Kraft’s cross found Nicolaus Medina, who fired a low shot that clanged off the left post.

Just a minute later, it was the visitor’s turn to get a crack at it. Cody Golbad sent a shot at goal from the right side of the box, but Gold goalkeeper Hector Grajeda was there to make the save.

The match changed in the 26th minute, when Aroon Molina was fouled by Jorge Carmona. After the whistle was blown, Molina swung his arm back and hit Carmona in the face, prompting the referee to issue a red card to Molina and send the Gold down to ten men.

Despite being shorthanded, Sacramento controlled the pace of the game, getting the better of the chances. In the 40th minute, when Mike Mazzoni made a fantastic run from Sacramento’s defensive third up the middle of field. Mazzoni sent a shot at goal, missing wide by inches.

In stoppage time, Sacramento earned a free kick about 30 yards from goal. Kraft sent a curling shot that hit the right post and bounced out.

The second half started how the first ended, with a pile of Gold chances in front of the Academica goal. But, while Sacramento kept control, the shots simply would not go in.

With about 20 minutes left to play, time was halted due to lighting visible from the stadium. After about a five-minute conference, the referees decided to let play continue. Once both teams were on the field, it seemed momentum had shifted, with the visitors working themselves more and more into the attack.

The storm eventually proved to be too much for the Gold. With the final kick of the match, Academica sent in a corner kick that was headed into the net, giving the home squad the heartbreaking loss.

Sacramento Gold FC will have one last bye week before hosting the rival Sonoma County Sol on Saturday, June 15 in the team’s regular season home finale. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Capital Christian High School.