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GOLD, ACADEMICA BATTLE TO DRAW

Sacramento Gold FC got a lot of its offensive punch taken away early, but held on to earn a point in a 0-0 draw with Academica SC Saturday at Capital Christian High School.

The scoreless finish is the third straight draw for Sacramento in as many games this season. It’s the most consecutive even scores to start a season in club history and tied for the longest stretch of draws the Gold has ever had. It’s also the club’s fourth straight draw at home and the second shutout of the season, already reaching half of last season’s conference-leading total of four.

The first-ever matchup between the Sacramento and Turlock clubs had its first big chance about ten minutes in. The Gold’s Kaba Alkebulan got his head on a cross from the left side, sending a sharp header towards the goal. However, the Academica keeper was there to snatch the ball.

About five minutes later, Academica collected a headed ball right after a free kick from midfield. The attacker made a nifty move to get free from the Gold defense and fired a laser from the top of the box. Gold goalkeeper Philip Bru leapt to his right and made a diving save to force a corner kick.

Then, the game changed in the 23rd minute. Off a Gold goal kick, Clay Silvas went up for a header with an Academica player. The two collided in midair, and the Academica player stayed on the ground, hurt. The referee, believing Silvas had hit his opponent in the face during the clash, issued Silvas a straight red card, dropping the Gold to ten players for the rest of the game. Academica was also down to ten for several minutes while the injured player received treatment on the sidelines, though he eventually returned.

Academica maintained the majority of the possession for the rest of the half, though Sacramento did get a few breaks, most notably right before halftime. After a series of defensive stops, the Gold managed to get a two-on-one breakaway. Another pass left the Gold with a quick one-on-one with the Academica keeper, but the shot sailed high over the crossbar.

The second half was a bit more wide-open, with some early chances from Academica missing just wide. However, both defenses were able to hunker down and sniff out the bigger threats. Sacramento nearly pulled off another stoppage time stunner when Alkebulan rifled a pass across the box, where the Gold smashed it past the Academica keeper. However, the shot came right after the assistant referee had put up his flag to signal an offside.

The draw keeps Sacramento unbeaten, despite playing for more than hour at a disadvantage, at three points through three games.

Sacramento will now head on the road for the first time this season to face another Golden Gate newcomer, El Farolito. That match is set for noon on Saturday, April 14 at Boxer Stadium in San Francisco.

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