The first game in the new Alameda County Derby went the way of the host as CDAguiluchos USA won a sloppy rainy game 3-1 at Raimondi Park on Saturday night. While not the first time the Stompers have played Aguiluchos, it was the first time since their rebrand to become the East Bay FC Stompers and since their move to Hayward, creating a new county derby.
The opening chances of the game went the way of the Aguiluchos as Stompers Goalkeeper Jose Majano was forced into multiple difficult saves. However, the game remained 0-0 as the Stompers began to build their way back into the game.
The Stompers began to dominate possession, but did not create much with the possession they had. They controlled the game mostly through possession between their defenders and defensive midfield. However, with the wet turf conditions, their build-up play lacked intent.
It took a moment of magic from Man of the Match Ross Middlemiss of Aguiluchos late in the first half to finally unlock the Stompers defense. Middlemiss danced down the left side passed multiple defenders and put in a perfect cross that was neatly tucked home by Adam Martinez.
The Stompers tried to respond immediately and had their best chance of the first half when Khalid Arramdani rose bravely for a cross and got his head to it, missing just wide. Unfortunately, this resulted in a collision with Aguiluchos goalkeeper Kevin Gonzales that left Arramdani down with a possible broken nose. He was subbed off at the half, as the score remained 1-0.
East Bay FC made three subs at the half and switched from a 4-4-2 to a more attacking 4-3-3, showing their intent to get a result from the match. They created the first attacking threat on the break, but CD Aguiluchos defender Bengy Ruiz went in with a challenge that received a yellow card.
This was followed by another great attack by the Stompers when captain Tommy Rodda missed an open header at the back post failing to even hit the target. Within minutes the Stompers had another chance off of a corner kick that saw Jesse Kehoe miss the frame as well.
While the Stompers looked more dangerous, Middlemiss again turned nothing into something beating three East Bay defenders and setting up Simon Rawnsley for the goal. This was his second assist of the game to make it 2-0 to the home side.
The Stompers did not go quietly as substitute Joel Sandoval’s long-range effort deflected into the path of Tommy Rodda, and he made no mistake with his second chance and found the back of the net bringing the score to 2-1 with just minutes to play.
Sadly for the Stompers however, the defense switched off and allowed the Aguiluchos to score immediately off of the restart. When substitute Devin Collins found the loose ball at his feet, he blasted it into the roof of the net to seal the game and restore the two-goal lead.