CD Aguiluchos USA was missing its leading scorer Saturday night, and it didn’t get a scoreboard contribution from its other star forward. But that didn’t slow down the Aguiluchos, and the Golden Gate Conference leaders showed why they’re atop the table for good in 2017.
Ricardo Guerra scored twice for the Aguiluchos in a 2-1 win over East Bay FC at Pioneer Stadium, ending the Stompers’ two-game win streak. His San Leandro-based team clinched the top spot in the Golden Gate Conference with the win, standing 16 points clear of second-place Sacramento Gold FC and Sonoma County Sol, and finished off a sweep of the Stompers in the 2017 Alameda County Derby.
Guerra put the Aguiluchos (8-1-0) on top for good in the 57th minute when he cleaned up a mess in front of the net by poking the ball in while lying on the ground. His two-goal performance made up for the absence of forward Simon Rawnsley, who was replaced in the starting lineup by Adan Martinez. The Stompers defense was able to keep Ross Middlemiss, the Aguiluchos’ other prolific scorer, off the board.
Guerra opened the scoring just before halftime. The aggressive right back stole the ball from the East Bay FC defense in the 41st minute, then drove the ball into the penalty area and fired into the top of the net from the goal line just right of the six-yard box.
East Bay midfielder Jorge Butron cut the Aguiluchos lead to 2-1 late in the game, punching a shot into the lower right corner of the net in the 77th minute, assisted by Zano Mahic. Marcus Rojas made a pair of impressive late-game saves to keep the score close, but the Stompers (2-1-5) couldn’t find the equalizer in the closing minutes.
East Bay FC remains in the playoff hunt, standing just two games behind Sonoma and Sacramento. The Stompers will take a scheduled bye week before returning to action on June 10 with a visit to Napa Valley 1839 FC. CD Aguiluchos USA has two weeks off before hosting Sacramento Gold FC on June 18.