TRIUMPH FOR TEMECULA
Solo goals from Andrew Hernandez and Justin Picou along with a brace from Steven Lamberta led the Quails of Temecula FC past the Oxnard Guerreros in the latest NPSL National Game of the Week. On a sun-soaked Saturday evening, TFC notched its first victory of the season, posting a 4-0 victory over Oxnard. The victory sees Temecula FC improve to 1-2-3, leapfrogging Oxnard Guerreros (1-4-0) in the Southwest Conference.
The game kicked off with Temecula FC seizing the initiative and putting Oxnard on the back foot with a slew of long looping passes out of the midfield and into the wide areas of the field. Andrew Hernandez was an early threat on the righthand side of TFC’s attack. Hernandez forced two saves from Oxnard goalkeeper Angel Cervantes before finally making the breakthrough just 11 minutes into the game when he collected a pass just past the midfield line and drove straight at the space between Oxnard’s left back and left centerback. Hernandez feinted left and right and struck a shot past Cervantes to open the scoring.
“This is the best team we have ever had, but we cannot seem to score goals or create enough chances to win a game,” said Temecula FC owner Brandon Jantz in the build-up to the game.
Temecula FC, led by manager Austin Levins, made light of Jantz’s pregame comments with wave after wave of attack in the opening half. In the 26th minute Lamberta arrived late at the back post to prod home a low cross swung in by goal scorer Hernandez, following a short corner routine.
In the 34th minute, NPSL journeyman Justin Picou notched the third Temecula goal of the game when he forced an error from the Oxnard back line and prodded home a loose ball earning a bit of redemption after his error the previous weekend condemned the Quails to defeat against ASC San Diego.
“I shouldn’t have even been on the field today,” said Picou post-match. “For some reason our forward couldn’t make it tonight. Our coach asked me if I’ve ever played forward and I said told him I’ve played up top all my life. So, he gave me an opportunity and it felt so good to score. I haven’t scored like that in five years. It’s been that long since I played forward.”
The 3-0 score line held through the break and in the second half, Oxnard Guerreros came out firing on all cylinders and shifted the balance of play back in their favor. Temecula FC goalkeeper Ben Chamberlin supplied the heroics in the early stages of the second half, keeping Oxnard off the score sheet until in the 67th minute, Temecula extended its lead by one more tally with a sumptuous flowing move that Lamberta finished with a textbook curled finish to the back post .
“That’s our first win,” panted Levins immediately after the final whistle sounded. “We’ve been threatening a result like that for some time now. Our goal at the start of the year is to try and improve on previous seasons but I see the potential in these lads and they are well capable of making a playoff push.”
“We’re not too far off being a match for a lot of the teams in this division,” continued Levins. “Next game is Coras and I know they are our rival game so it’ll be a great match.”