By Daniel Morales/ Napa Valley 1839 FC
Napa Valley 1839 FC welcomed FC Davis to Dodd Stadium in Napa, California looking to pick up where they last left off, a brand of exciting football that head coach Mark Corbett implemented into the club upon his arrival in February of 2020.
“It was great to wake up today and be able to say ‘it’s gameday!’” Corbett said. “Seeing the support after all this time is amazing. We missed this atmosphere very much and are grateful for the volunteers, sponsors, and fans who come out to push the team forward.”
And indeed it had been a while since the words “it’s game day” were uttered by anybody in Napa. The last match Corbett led at Dodd Stadium was on March 8, 2020. That night resulted in a 2-1 defeat against the now former NPSL side Project 510 out of Oakland, California. Unfortunately for the home team, history repeated itself once again on Saturday. This time the defeat came against the defending Golden Gate Conference champions FC Davis Lions.
The game plan for Napa Valley 1839 FC was simple, be on the front foot and take the game to Davis. The Lions also had a similar plan in mind. It didn’t take long for the crowd of over 500 to be heard after FC Davis striker Adewumi Aladetimi nearly capitalized on a counterattack on a ball fed by Davis captain Onah Power just two minutes into the match. Fortunately for Napa goalkeeper Sucre Herrera, Aladetimi’s effort at goal went just wide. Minutes later Napa would respond with a counter attack of their own on a combination between forwards Francisco Mendoza and Luis Ramirez. This time Davis goalkeeper Jonathon Laughlin was fortunate after Ramirez nearly nailed a bicycle kick via a pass from Mendoza.
Both clubs continued to go back and forth attempting to create opportunities but it wasn’t until the final minute of the first half when the deadlock was broken. A scuffle in the home team’s goal box resulted in a penalty being awarded to the Lions. The man that gave the visitors the lead was Power, a former Napa Valley 1839 FC player. He converted from the penalty spot and sent his side with a 1-0 lead into halftime.
“We knew they were a great team, defending Golden Gate Conference champions,” Corbett said. “The first half we gave them too much respect and time on the ball.”
That story would change in the second half. Napa jumped into the half with no substitutions but with a different energy. Immediately the Wine Country side made his presence in the opposition’s side be known. After numerous attempts at goal Laughlin would finally see a ball go past him and into the net courtesy of Ramirez. A beautifully placed left-footed curling shot from 18 yards out gave Napa the equalizer in the 59th minute sending the fans into eruptions of celebration. From then on Napa would dominate the match and create more opportunities but could not get the second much-needed goal.
Missed opportunities would come back to haunt the home side once again in the dying minutes of the match. This time FC Davis would take advantage of a corner kick and capitalize on the one mistake made by Napa Valley 1839 FC in the second half. Thanks to an open Jaime Robles, Davis would take the 2-1 lead with an easy header goal in the 85th minute. Napa continued to press until the final whistle but all attempts for an equalizer were denied by a solid FC Davis defense.
“It’s disappointing to concede a PK right before halftime,” Corbett said. “Second half we played higher up the field, got tighter to their players and started to take control of the game. We got a deserved equalizer and looked like we could get a winner. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be. A lapse of concentration on a corner gifted Davis the winning goal.”
Aside from the result, Corbett saw lots of positives to take forward for his team going into their next fixture vs. Academica SC at Turlock’s Academica Fields on Saturday, June 12. FC Davis will also prepare to be back in action on June 12 as they play host to the Oakland Stompers. Both fixtures are scheduled for a 7:00 pm start.
Photo Credit: Miguel Garcia/MG PRO Photography