TURLOCK, CA – After a two-month hiatus following the end of their 2019 NPSL season, AC returned to the pitch on Sunday to begin preparations for its 2019 US Open Cup run this fall. The Black and Gold were competing in the LIGA Norcal in order to stay sharp for the Open Cup qualifiers. Sunday’s 6 pm match started off the fall season against Davis Legacy, the reigning champions of LIGA NorCal and the team that defeated Academica in the Copa Norcal final last June.
Head Coach Sergio Sousa chose a strong starting XI for AC’s first match since their playoff loss in July. The start of the match had AC with a majority of the position with Davis content with counter attacks over the top of Academica’s back line. Academica’s pressing game with Ramiro Ceja up top forced Davis into numerous uncomfortable situations with one of their keeper’s clearances coming off Ceja and nearly into his own net. The deadlock was broken in the 18th min as Ceja ran onto a Brennen Canfield through ball before beating his defender and slotting it home with his left foot. This trend continued as 8 min later Ceja was once again played through and he was able to find Cody Golbad whose lethal shot was smothered by the Davis goalkeeper. Only 5 min later AC had its second goal of the night as Arnaldo Gutierrez tapped in at the far post after Brian Chongtoua created the cross from the right hand side of the field.
The end of the half was marked with confusion as a hard foul by Gutierrez was called outside the AC box and as Gutierrez was receiving his caution from the referee, Davis played a quick free kick to score on an open goal. The referee claimed that new rules now state that attackers do not need to wait for the referees whistle to take a quick free kick even if a caution is shown. Both teams headed into halftime with the score at 2-1.
The 2nd half kicked off and it was Davis who came out with a better start. They were able to find space behind the Black and Gold defense and goalkeeper David Hernandez was called upon to make some key saves. The game opened up after as the midfield was skipped more than once as balls over the top became the key choice of attack. In the closing minutes, AC applied the most pressure as the game was being played in the Davis half. In the 89th min, Adrian Plascencia smashed a left footed shot after a scramble in the Davis penalty area but was denied by the keeper’s trailing leg. The full time whistle blew shortly afterwards and both teams settled for a point.
Academica is back at home this Sunday at 7 pm as it begins its US Open Cup Qualifying run against PV United from Watsonville. Admission is $5 with season ticket holders getting in free. This will be a match you will not want to miss.