Last time FC Arizona and FC Golden State met in the desert, it ended on a tough 1-1 draw that saw one team finish with 10 men. This time the end result was much different as FCGS scored five unanswered goals against the visiting team.
The home side dominated possession but it was FC Arizona who got the first goal of the match. In the 22nd minute, midfielder Cesar Cassillas found himself with the ball and some space inside the box to hit a low shot through goalkeeper Miguel Marin’s legs. Marin was making his home debut in the NPSL. Although he was never really bothered again before being subbed off at halftime, he definitely preferred to have gone off with a clean sheet for himself and his team.
Once the clock passed the 30th minute, it was all FCGS from there. Midfielders Ignacio “Nacho” Cancela and Jesus Quintero did a great job in pushing their team forward and their hard work paid off in subsequent fashion. Winger Ricky Ruiz pounced on a blocked Cancela shot to tie the scoreline in the 31st minute. Ruiz added the fifth goal right before halftime with a beautiful curler with his left foot to put his goal tally to three this season.
Sandwiched between the two Ruiz goals, was Danny Trejo making the most of his NPSL debut by scoring a hat trick in the span of five minutes. The best of the bunch was his third goal when going on a 1-on-2 fastbreak and shooting a bullet of a shot to the top corner of the net. Golden State head coach Bob Friedland decided to empty his bench to keep players fresh for the rest of the season. Just because no goals were scored, doesn’t mean the second half was short of excitement. Both teams got close to scoring big free kicks but hit the top bar instead.
Gio Aguilar and Andrew Benitez were also able to get their first minutes of the NPSL season. These are players that Friedland will need if FCGS wants to maintain their position of the table the rest of the way through with seven games to play.
With this victory, FC Golden State sits alone at the top of the table without needing any sort of tie breaker of goals scored or games played. The top four teams of the table have now played the exact same 11 games, but it is FCGS that leads with 25 points. Their +28 goal difference does not hurt either. Most team coaches will try to avoid the excitement, but Friedland’s first words to the team was an excited “first place” outburst. While assistant coach Salvador “Chava” Moran calls that 1st place feeling as “justice.”
FC Golden State hope to maintain their justified momentum when they travel to face A.S. Los Angeles on May 11th. Their next home game will be the following week against City of Angels.
By Louis Olvera/ FC Golden State
Photo Credit: Louis Olvera/ FC Golden State