By Daniel Morales/Napa Valley 1839 FC
Late goals from Academica SC prevented Napa Valley 1839 FC from leaving Turlock Saturday night with their first points of the NPSL Return to Play Series.
Despite opening the scoring and having more ball possession in the second half, 1839 FC were unable to extend their lead while the home side took advantage and capitalized on two aerial opportunities to run away with the win.
Much like their first match against FC Davis, 1839 FC had troubles keeping their opponents tightly marked. Offensively the side from Turlock was taking the space Napa was leaving open but could not find the net.
Napa’s back line which includes current Vintage High School student Ian Reis and American Canyon High School 2020 alumni goalkeeper Sucre Herrera escaped the first half scoreless. Herrera would have a crucial save in the 20th minute, clearing a shot from his goal line after a hard strike from Academica striker Cody Golbad from 10 yards out.
“Our defensive shape was organized but it was too deep in our half,” stated Napa Valley 1839 FC Head Coach Mark Corbett during halftime. “We can’t afford to give opponents any space.”
To begin the second half Corbett made two key substitutions that instantly had an impact. Fullback Paul Ramsey would enter the match to make his league debut. Joining him was forward and Napa Valley College Soccer standout William “Billy” Biondini.
It wouldn’t take long for both to contribute. Ramsey’s defensive tight marking immediately paid off in the 56th minute. After stealing a ball, Ramsey began a counter attack which culminated in him assisting Biondini, who showcased his speed and ability to get behind defenders to open the scoring.
Academica SC head coach Sergio Sousa responded with a key substitution of his own almost instantly after conceding the goal. Forward Jahrie Gray entered the match and in the 72nd minute would equalize for the home team heading a ball past Herrera on a well-placed cross assisted by Ricky Rosas. With 1839 FC pushing for that second goal the spaces would open up again for Turlock and in the final minutes they would again capitalize on another cross. This time Andy Velasquez assisted Marcus Decouto in the 87th minute to close out the match.
“It took until halftime for us to start playing, it was a wasted first 45 minutes,” said Corbett. “Everything we do in terms of preparation, organization starts way before kickoff. We need to demonstrate that for a full 90 minutes and the remainder of the season.”
With the defeat Napa fell for the first time against Academica SC since first meeting in the NPSL dating back to March of 2018.
Napa Valley 1839 FC (0-2) will now prepare to host Sonoma County Sol FC (0-2) on June 19 in the annual Wine Country Derby at Justin-Siena’s Dodd Stadium. The match is scheduled to kickoff at 7:00 pm.
Photo Credit: MG Pro/Miguel Garcia