Saturday’s match between Temecula FC and Oxnard Guerreros FC is one that fans and supporters have been looking forward to for quite some time. And for good reason. Temecula and Oxnard both feature talented sides with tremendous potential. And the Southwest Conference has never been more competitive with every team capable of making a run at the postseason.
Expectations are high for the Quails.
“This is the best team we have ever had, but we cannot seem to score goals or create enough chances to win a game,” Temecula FC owner Brandon Jantz commented. “I think the season has been great in many ways as we have seen our supporters’ group grow and the quality of our players is much higher than in all previous years. I think everyone is hoping we can start winning matches and make a playoff spot, but if we don’t get three points this weekend I think that is all but lost.”
Temecula certainly has the players to make it into the playoffs. Joey Ciochetto and Ryan Brent both are key returning players that can make a difference in any game. Ciochetto already has one goal and two assists under his belt, while Brent has been a standout in the defense.
Sergio “Checo” Lopez and Teague Anderson are other players to watch. Lopez runs the midfield and controls the tempo of every match. Anderson came up through Temecula’s youth system, but this is his first season with the first team. He has scored one goal and has been a threat going forward in every match. Actually five different players have scored one goal so the team has scoring punch from many different places when it is needed.
“The coaching staff has been absolutely brilliant and I can’t say enough good things about the work they are doing,” Jantz added.
Austin Levins from Dublin, Ireland is the first team manager and has been instrumental in changing the culture in the Temecula squad. He is supported by AJ Covarrubias, a former first team player, and newcomers Angel Alcantara and Jose Aldaz.
Lofty expectations are also in place for Oxnard.
“Our expectations as a team are to always to go out there and get a result in our favor, and that doesn’t ever change,” Oxnard Guerreros FC Owner/CEO Ty Otto said. “I feel like we have gotten off to a better start than last year, but there is still a lot of work to do so that we can get to where we want to be as a club. As a second-year club we obviously want to improve on our finish last season, but the ultimate goal is to win the conference, and there is still plenty of time to achieve that goal.”
The dynamic duo of Luis Rivera and Alberto Anguiano was born and raised in Oxnard. Rivera is a crafty central midfielder with a strong motor, while Anguiano has two goals from his attacking midfield position. Moises and Emilio Orozco are two key newcomers and both are homegrown talents from Oxnard. Moises has two goals and one assist as the Guerreros’ target man and was already named National Player of the Week. Emilio brings versatility to the team, playing both holding midfielder and center back.
Pablo Alaniz, a Santa Barbara native, is a strong force in the backline and a great role model for younger players. He’s definitely a player to keep an eye on. Otto is hopeful that his players “can keep up the success as the season goes on.”
Juan Florez is in his first year as manager of the Guerreros. He previously managed the San Fernando Valley Eagles and the San Fernando Quakes. Florez is also the coach for the LA Galaxy CV Pre-Academy. He had a decorated playing career, leading Cal-State Northridge to the NCAA Tournament Finals as a starting midfielder before going on to play professionally for Colombian sides Millonarios and América de Cali.
Moises Orozco and Anguiano are tied for the team lead in goals, with the former also leading the team in assists. Angel Cervantes has played in every game for the Guerreros this season and leads the team in saves.
It’s easy to see why this match was chosen as the National Game of the Week. It’s going to be an exciting evening in Temecula.