By Gabriel Naudin/Oxnard Guerreros FC
A hard-fought game and one the Guerreros can build off of took place Saturday night in Oxnard. FC Arizona made the trip all the way from Tucson and put their undefeated record on the table against an Oxnard team that struggled in weeks past. From goals for both sides to a PK save that rocked Campo Guerrero, this game had it all.
FC Arizona, a team that had taken care of every opponent in the first few weeks, was looking to do the same again, but the Guerreros weren’t going to make it easy.
Oxnard held much of the possession in the first few minutes of the game, but a quick break gave Arizona the early 1-0 lead and put them in the driver’s seat for much of the first half.
That was until Oxnard’s Victor Estrada came through and leveled it with a diving header to the back post. This was Estrada’s first goal of the season and it gave Oxnard some momentum for the remainder of the half.
In a game that was going back and forth, it was a miscue at the back that gave Arizona possession of the lead once more. The 45th minute brought a teasing ball into the box and miscommunication allowed for an Arizona player to get on the end of it and give his team a 2-1 lead just before half.
This 2-1 lead could’ve been more, but goalkeeper Angel Cervantes came to play and was doing anything and everything in his power to keep his team in it. And his stellar performance would come to the forefront in the second half.
Both team came out battling for every ball and it even got a little chippy with both teams receiving yellow cards for dangerous tackles.
One of these tackles was a direct result of how the Guerreros were able to get their second on the score sheet. A quick free kick was taken by Alberto Anguiano and he was able to find Brenton Frame over the top, who would take one touch and then bury the ball into the back of the net to equal the core at 2-2 and give Frame his fourth goal of the year.
The battle would continue much into the second half and the feisty nature of FC Arizona allowed them to find a dangerous through ball in behind the Oxnard back line. Cervantes would come charging out for a fifty-fifty ball, but managed to nick the player as he jumped over him for the ball. This resulted in a penalty and a long break in the action as both players needed attention from the physio. Cervantes would be on the ground for what seemed like ten minutes, but managed to muster up enough strength to stand in front of the opposition at the PK spot.
Campo Guerrero came to a deafening silence as the Arizona player approached the ball. He hit the ball to the keepers right and Cervantes made a leaping save that brought the entire stadium to its feet. He had saved it and given the Guerreros some life heading into the final minutes of the half.
The Guerreros would press on and put themselves in situations to find a winner, but it was not their night as the game would finish 2-2 and keep FC Arizona’s undefeated streak alive.
“I feel proud of the team,” Cervantes said. “We gave it our all. We’ve been doing what the coaches are asking of us and it is putting us in good situations.”
Cervantes, a confident keeper, was not shy of talking about the save post game and what it meant to him.
“I was saying I have to block this for the team, and thank God I was able to,” Cervantes added/
The save by Cervantes deflated a tough Arizona side and ultimately put the Guerreros in a position to get a result Saturday night.
Assistant Coach Salvador Orozco also had high praise for the Guerreros side.
“They fought,” Orozco stated. “They didn’t give up… They are a very good team, very organized, very competitive and we did our job tonight.”
The Guerreros will be back in action Sunday March 24th at St. Matthias Stadium against another tough opponent in A.S. Los Angeles. This will be followed by four straight home games that could put the Guerreros in a situation they haven’t found themselves in in years past, a playoff spot.
Photo Credit: Brandon Jones/Oxnard Guerreros FC