GAME OF THE WEEK: SPLENDID SOCCER IN SACRAMENTO

Sacramento Gold FC and FC Tacoma 253 put on an entertaining contest in this edition of the ISNSoccer.com Game of the Week. In the end, the hosts managed to tough out a victory, as the Gold won their home opener 3-1 Sunday at Capital Christian High School.

Josue Araiza paced Sacramento with two goals, while Cuco Martinez tacked on one more. Andres Ruiz Gama notched Tacoma’s lone goal.

Tacoma, coming off a 2-1 loss to the Sonoma County Sol the night before, looked to push the pace early. In the opening minutes, Pedro Millan cut through the left of the box and ripped a shot at goal. Sacramento goalkeeper John Connolly was able to make the deflection for a corner kick.

In the sixth minute, Gabe Padilla’s strike from the top of the box was stopped by Tacoma goalkeeper Elmer Rodriguez. Two passes off the restart, Padilla managed to poke the ball from Paul Aur in front of goal. However, Rodriguez was able to make a reflex save to deny Padilla.

The teams would then start to settle in, with battles in the midfield leading to few shots on goal. The exceptions were a long distance shot from Abdinur Galgalo, which went over the crossbar, and a quick shot on goal from Padilla, which was saved by Rodriguez.

Millan finally got the next great chance a few yards in front of goal in the 36th minute. His redirection was met by Anthony Gallo, though Gallo was left worse for wear after the collision. While Gallo recovered, the center official stopped play for a minute to let both teams beat the stadium heat with a quick water break.

Shortly after the water break, Sacramento broke the scoring drought. In the 39th minute, Araiza managed to get onto a cross from Fernando Cabadas in front of goal. Araiza poked the ball past Rodriguez to put the Gold ahead 1-0.

Both teams would see excellent chances in the first half stoppage time. First, Gianmarco Peressini made a run which set up Millan in front of goal. Millan’s shot was deflected out for a corner kick, which Sacramento managed to clear.

A minute later, Sacramento earned a free kick in front of the Tacoma box. Martinez hit a knuckler at goal, but the shot was stopped by Rodriguez to send the game into halftime.

Tacoma got the action started early in the second half. Milan head the ball to a streaking Sumlin, but his touch was a bit too heavy. Connolly was able to come to the edge of the box to collect the ball ad snuff out the trouble.

After a series of substitutions, Padilla managed created the next good chance. After getting around a falling defender in the 65th minute, Padilla ripped a shot at the left of goal. Rodriguez was able to make a flying save, but was down for a few minutes after colliding with the left goal post. He was eventually able to resume play after some recovery time.

Tacoma’s best chance came in the 68th minute. Sacramento failed to clear a crossed-in pass, and the ball bounced around in front of the Gold goal. The ball eventually found the head of Matt Shaxton for an effort on goal. However, Connolly was there to deny the Tacoma captain.

In the 77th minute, Martinez sent a through ball to Andrew Robles at goal. After drawing two defenders, Robles waited for a streaking Araiza down the right. Robles’ pass found Araiza’s feet, which put the ball by Rodriguez to double the Gold lead at 2-0.

Padilla nearly made it 3-0 in the 80th minute. A pass from Cabadas sent Padilla free up the middle for a one-on-one. However, Rodriguez was able to make the save.

The visitors managed to pull one back in the 85th minute. A shot on goal by Jose Ramos hit the post, but the ball found Gama in the corner. Gama snuck the ball past Connolly on the right side to make it a 2-1 game.

That score line didn’t last long. In the 88th minute, Ali Radmand sent a curling ball from the left side to Martinez alone in the middle. Martinez took a dribble and hit it by Rodriguez to increase Sacramento’s lead to 3-1.

Though Tacoma would continue to attack, Connolly was not tested again, and the Gold closed out the win.

Tacoma will look to snap its three-game losing streak with a return trip home to Starfire Stadium. FCT 253 will battle for its first NPSL win against the San Francisco Stompers at 7 p.m. on Sunday, April 19.

Sacramento heads into its first bye week of the season. The Gold will return to action on Sunday, April 26 for a road trip to take on Real San Jose. The action gets underway at 4 p.m. at Mt. Pleasant High School

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