By Napa Valley 1839 FC
It was a festive night in Napa Valley. A determined Napa Valley 1839 FC side took the field at
Dodd Stadium against the Milwaukee Torrent seeking their first win of the season. The last time
both clubs faced each other was in week 1 of the competition. On that occasion Milwaukee
came away with a 2-0 victory in Wisconsin. This time that was not to be as Napa Valley 1839
FC would not only score their first goal(s) of the season but also earn their first win in front of
their fans 2-1.
“It’s a good start to the second part of the season, our fans deserve this win,” Napa Valley 1839
FC General Manager Tom Shutt said. “It’s not easy starting the season the way we have but the
players continue to work hard. We’ll take this momentum into our upcoming trip to Detroit and
try our best to bring points back home.”
And indeed it was a rough first half of the 10-game season for Napa, losing all five matches and
not scoring any goals.
Osvaldo “Balon” Velazquez, a Napa Valley local, insured the scoring drought for Napa Valley
1839 FC would end early in the match. Just nine minutes into the contest Napa forward Ivan
Sakou would take a corner kick that found an unmarked Velazquez in the box who left
Milwaukee Torrent goalkeeper Kevin Tenjo with no room for a reaction after a well-placed
“First and foremost I’m very proud of my teammates and staff, we deserved this win because we
were able to rise above many adversities,” Velazquez stated. “I’m very grateful and proud of our
fans. Our ‘12th man’ they have unconditional love and support for our team, through the good
and bad. They’re here behind us every game. I’m just happy we could give them a win and
Despite the home side’s control of the match, late in the first half Milwaukee would make Napa
goalkeeper Alonso Lara work. Lara would clear a dangerous ball on the line headed by Torrent
defender Gonnie Bental after a corner kick in the 42nd minute. Just two minutes later the
visitors were awarded a penalty. Lara’s first effort to prevent the goal was successful, but
unfortunately for the home side, Gonnie Bental would tap in the rebound. The team went into
half level at 1-1.
The second half kicked off with no changes for Napa Valley 1839 FC but the hero of the night
would come off the bench for the home team. Diego Lopez, who entered the match in the 55th
minute, impacted the game by immediately causing problems for the Torrent back line. Lopez
gave the locals something big to cheer about in the 80th minute.
A cleared Milwaukee ball crossed into the box by Napa forward Jorge Lua would land at the
feet of Lopez, who went on to challenge two defenders before shooting the ball past Tenjo. This caused big celebrations in the stands to erupt. Lopez, who has been battling injuries during the
regular season, had a dream return, scoring his first goal for the club since joining from Sonoma
With time expiring, Milwaukee Torrent looked for opportunities to tie the match but a very
compact Napa team didn’t let their first win of the season slip past them.
Napa Valley 1839 FC will now prepare to travel to Michigan for a two-match stand. First, they
will take on Michigan Stars FC on Thursday, September 26th at Ultimate Soccer Arenas. This
will be followed by a visit to Detroit City FC at Keyworth Stadium on Saturday, September 28th.
Photo Credit: Mario Cendejas