Del Sol Stadium was host to Orange County FC on Saturday, April 8th as they traveled to Oxnard to take on the Guerreros.
The Guerreros were coming off of a tough loss the week before against Riverside Coras, and were looking to get back on track against the in-form OCFC side, who were looking to stretch their winning streak to three games.
It has been a tough inaugural season thus far for the Guerreros who have gone on a two-game skid after recording their first win in club history just three weeks ago.
OCFC came out fast and registered multiple shots early that Guerreros goalkeeper Angel Cervantes was able to match, but it wouldn’t be long before the boys from Orange County were able to find the back of the net.
The tenth minute saw yet another defensive mishap for the Guerreros, which allowed OCFC striker Tomas Alessandro Canale to be played in behind and slot one past Cervantes and put his team up 1-0 early.
“Unfortunately we are doing the same mistakes over and over, which is early goals, and then on top of that we always start behind,” Oxnard coach Paulo Monlleo said. “It is a totally different game after they score.”
The Guerreros battled back right after the goal and applied pressure looking to grab a quick equalizer, but the team from Orange County stood strong and were able to withstand the heavy load of attacking efforts by the Guerreros.
The game began to slow down as both teams relaxed and played their style, and then came the 42nd minute where a penalty was called against the Guerreros and it was a golden opportunity for OCFC to double their lead just before half.
OCFC’s Armando Flores would miss the initial shot after Cervantes made a diving save, but he was able to follow it up and place it into the net, giving OCFC a 2-0 lead going into halftime.
Just before the half the game saw its first two yellows in a game that had a total of eight yellows shown. Goal scorer Canale and Oxnard’s Eduardo Gonzalez were shown cautions in the 45th minute, seconds before the whistle for halftime.
The Guerreros were trailing going into half for the second consecutive game, and would also be without one of their crucial players Emmanuel Ayken, who pulled up with an apparent hamstring injury midway through the half.
The second half would begin and it seemed like it would be much of the same until the Guerreros were able to get a corner kick in the 56th minute. Luis Rivera played in the corner that led to a scramble in the box. The ball fell to Tomas Araujo and after a mishit, Alberto “Tito” Anguiano was able to collect the ball and blast it in to the roof of the net.
This was Anguiano’s first goal in a Guerreros jersey.
“It was my first of the season, but I knew we were down so I knew I had to get the ball and get back to try and get the second goal.”
The Guerreros continued to apply the pressure and it was followed by many chances, but they were unable to convert. Their constant pressure resulted in many fouls being called and three more yellows being handed out in the 60th, 63rd, and 69th minutes.
The hope of getting the equalizer would not last as OCFC’s Staforde Palmer would capitalize on the lack of defensive presence in the 89th minute after Guerreros players had pushed forward looking for another goal. Palmer ran on to a through ball and slotted it home, giving his side the 3-1 lead and ultimately the win, taking their streak to three in a row.
“When we came out after half I think the guys were more conscious of what to do,” Monlleo said with regards to the positives that he could take from this game. “They started to create more opportunities. The thing I hope we can continue is the way they dedicated themselves in the second half.”
The Guerreros fell for the second consecutive week, taking their record to 1-4 on the year.
“We just need to start with the pressure early,” Anguiano added. “We gave away two goals in the first half and that shouldn’t happen… We should play our game, which is more of a touching game and goals will come.”
The Guerreros will be back in action Saturday, Apr. 15 at 5:30 in Del Sol Stadium as they welcome City of Angels FC to Oxnard for the NPSL National Game of the Week.