FC Golden State improved to 2-0 in their inaugural season in the NPSL with another road victory Saturday evening. Golden State beat Riverside Coras 2-0 in a chippy affair at Riverside Stadium.
Pedro Fonseca scored the dagger for Golden State in the 78th minute after his teammate Luis Gonzalez was fouled in the penalty box. Riverside (0-1-1) was playing with just 10 players at the time of the foul after Ramon Nunez drew a red card in the 70th minute.
“I’ve practiced penalty kicks my entire life. They are natural for me,” Fonseca said. “The goalkeeper is the one that has to choose which side he wants to jump to. So I just keep my eyes on him and get the ball to the opposite side.”
The game got off to a slow start with both teams combining for just a handful of shots in the first 25 minutes. Fonseca nearly put Golden State on the board in the 23rd minute. He fired a shot on goal from about 10 yards out but Riverside defender Fernando Cabello was able to dive and block the shot with his head to keep the game scoreless.
Fonseca fired another wide-open shot in the 38th minute. But Riverside’s goalkeeper made a diving stop and forced the ball out of bounds.
But after 40 minutes of solid defense, one mistake cost Riverside in the closing minutes of the first half. Tavoy Morgan intercepted a Riverside pass and chipped it in for a 1-0 lead at the half.
“Miscommunication and a sloppy pass,” Riverside head coach Gabriel Esqueda said. “That happens and good teams are going to punish you. It was hard to recover from that and they just imposed on us from there. They are a good football team that’s filled with talent and they showed it tonight. Hats off to them because they took us to school today.”
Golden State controlled possession to start the second half. Riverside was able to get just one shot off in the first 40 minutes of the second half.
Golden State and Fonseca missed on several opportunities to take a 2-0 lead early in the half. Fonseca led a breakaway and missed on a shot from about 15 yards out in the opening minutes, and missed another in the 62nd minute.
“It was really frustrating after missing those shots,” Fonseca said. “I’m from Brazil and I’m used to playing on natural grass. Turf is really different for me and it’s something I need to get used to and start getting full control of the ball.”
Riverside, who comes off a third place finish in the Southwest Conference with a 11-3-2 record, knows what it takes to make a return to the playoffs. They fell 1-0 to Orange County FC in the West Region quarterfinals last season.
“It’s a matter of us maturing and doing things the right way,” Esqueda said. “We lost. But I like what we saw. We held them to two goals. They scored three goals against the defending champs in their last game. I hope the team recognizes this and grows from this. I think we will be OK in the league and competing for that third place spot again.”
Riverside travels to face ASC San Diego at Mission Bay High School on April 7, while Golden State hosts Orange County FC in their home opener at Rio Hondo College.