Academica Victorious in East Bay Clash
In Week 4 of the NPSL season for Academica, the team traveled to Oakland to take on the East Bay Stompers. AC entered the match with a 1-2 record having lost to Sac Gold the previous week while the Stompers were 0-1 after a narrow defeat to San Ramon the weekend prior. The match took place at Raimondi Park, where only a couple months prior Academica defeated the Oakland Stompers in the 3rd Qualifying round of the US Open Cup.
The match started off with AC having a majority of the possession and looking especially dangerous out wide. The Gold and Black drew a foul on top of the Stompers penalty area and Gera Cazares curled his free kick into the top corner to open the scoring in the 11’. AC did not let up as only 4 minutes later Edwin Rodriguez broke down the left side and found Cody Golbad in the center of the 18 yd box who calmly slid it home for his first goal of the season. Golbad was last year’s top scorer for AC with 14 goals but was just making his debut tonight after being sidelined through injury.
The half continued with Academica controlling the tempo of the match but there was yet controversy to be had as an off-the-ball altercation saw both teams receive red cards. Both teams would have to play the remaining half with 10 men each.
The second half began in much of the same way as the first with AC creating chances and smothering any counter attacks. In the 68’, Fermin Chaidez found space on the right side and his cross was deflected into the back of the net by a Stompers defender. This gave AC a 3-0 with 20 minutes remaining. The action was far from over as only a few minutes later Jose Barriga brought down the East Bay attacker in his box and drew a penalty. Khalid Arramdani stepped up for East Bay but saw his penalty attempt saved by Alonso Lara. The clean sheet would not last much longer as two minutes later as Pacheco found time in the Academica penalty area and fired home an overhead bicycle for the Stompers opening goal. AC replied back quickly as a beautiful team play found Steven Sousa with space in the box who laid the ball off to Chaidez to slot it home to make it 4-1. The action continued as a speculative effort from 35 yards out found Lara wanting to score East Bays 2nd and a scramble in the Academica box allowed the Stompers to score their third and make for a nervous finish. AC were able to close the match out and leave Oakland with the 3 points.
Academica hosts IPS on 4/6 for their 4th Qualifying Round US Open Cup match while the Stompers travel to FC Davis that same day.
A nearly 3 hour commute started the day off for the Valley’s team, as they hit the road to face an always strong Sonoma County Sol team. As the match kicked off, and the home side quickly showed why they are constantly in the playoff race at the seasons end, with a pair of chances early on in the game. A couple of giveaways from the Academica backline lead to Goalkeeper Alonso Lara having to come up big within the first 5 minutes for the away side. Sonoma would go on to control and dictate the first half, and only allowing one shot on goal from Academica within the 1st 45.
As the 1st half was coming to a close, Manny Viegas collided into Sol’s keeper on a ball that was sent into the box. The collision left Viegas with a nasty cut on his head that required medical treatment from the athletic trainer prior to being cleared to go back in the game. The injury would signal the end of the 1st half shortly after.
The second half started off with a bit of controversy as a collision between Academica Goal Keeper and an opposing player from Sonoma left both teams still, waiting for a foul to be called. No foul was called on the collision in the 6 yard box and Sonoma capitalized and put the first goal of the contest into the back of the net. This seemed to awaken the visitors as the game began to slowly shift in their favor.
As the momentum began to swing in their favor, Academica capitalized and saw their first goal of the season. A bouncing ball on top of the 6 yard box saw midfielder Marco Torralva blast one past the outstretched keeper’s hands equalizing the match a one a piece. As both sides exchanged set pieces and opportunities, the game was decided in the 78th minute as Fermin Chaidez was able to beat the Sonoma Keeper and put one away from a difficult angle, giving Academica the lead.
Last time Academica held a lead in Sonoma, the home side was able to pull together a momentous comeback and finish the game with one point a piece. History would not repeat itself this time though. The game finished with a final score, Academica Soccer Club 2, Sonoma County Sol 1.
Academica now hosts Sacramento Gold, who just beat El Farolito, the defending Golden Gate Conference Champions. The Sol will travel to Davis to take on FC Davis.