Del Sol Stadium on March 25th was the site of the long awaited inaugural home match for the Guerreros of Oxnard. They played host to fellow West Region team Temecula FC, who came into the game with only one point to their name after two games.
Oxnard coming off two tough road losses were looking to get back on the right track in front of a packed crowd of over 350.
“We wanted to play a more possession style play because we know that’s the style of football that Oxnard likes,” Head Coach Julio Cesar Gomez De La Torre said in an interview with Joe Curley of the Ventura County Star.
The Guerreros were able to execute what they set out to do as they held the ball for a majority of both halves, which was a big reason to getting the 2-0 result at home.
“Today we were a bit more attacking and we got the result because of our attack,” De La Torre mentioned in an interview with Curley.
The Guerreros were pressing the back line of Temecula right from the whistle and Emmanuel “Nana” Ayken was the main benefactor of the constant bombardment.
Ayken was dangerous early forcing the keeper to make a save midway through the first. This shot was the first shot on goal for the Guerreros and was a sign of what was to come.
Captain Alberto “Tito” Anguiano saw a ball fall right to his feet in the 31st minute of the game. Anguiano was able to turn and play Ayken after a brilliantly timed run, which allowed Ayken to collect and dance past the defender and drive it in to the back of the net, giving the Temecula keeper no chance to recover.
“I was just very excited and I wasn’t even thinking… it was very good emotions I felt because it’s been a tough start for us to open the season,” Ayken said. “A goal on our side was very exciting for us.”
This goal gave the Guerreros a 1-0 lead that they would defend and take into the break.
It was the first lead ever in the Guerreros’ short history.
“After we got the first goal we settled down more and we weren’t panicking and as you could tell we had about seventy percent of the ball,” Ayken added. “Everybody looked confident and the team played really well as a whole, so I am very confident how we started.”
Halftime brought attention to a local youth team, Oxnard United 2003 boys, who recently won at the national championships in Temecula. The team’s players were introduced to the packed Del Sol Stadium and were also greeted with handshakes from Oxnard mayor Tim Flynn, who was in attendance for the inaugural match.
The fans then got back to their seats after visiting the food and merchandise stands in anticipation for another good half of soccer between the Guerreros of Oxnard and Temecula FC.
The second half got started right where it left off as the Guerreros continued to push and put constant pressure on the Temecula back line.
Temecula was unable to get the ball out from their side of the field for a majority of the second half and the pestering defense from the Guerreros was what allowed Ayken in the 60th minute to run on to another through ball and slot if past the keeper with his left foot. Ayken recorded the first brace in Oxnard Guererros history and there are more to come. According to Ayken, he predicted postgame that he will be able to score 15 goals this season.
As the game closed the two teams began to get choppy and two yellow cards were issued in as many minutes. Temecula’s Ryan Brent was shown a yellow in the 88th minute and that was followed by Oxnard’s Isaiah Bolton picking up a yellow of his own in the 90th minute.
The Guerreros were able to close out the game and pick up their first win in the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) on the back of Ayken’s two goals and tough defensive play that allowed goalkeeper Angel Cervantes to register his first clean sheet of the season.
Anguiano touched on what instructions were given to the team at half to maintain the lead, “We were just talking about playing our game and just trying to find the top players Nana and Alex up top. Just finding their feet and letting them create for us.”
“We are a new team trying out players,” Anguiano added. “Trying to see who meshes with who. We had a good practice, so obviously the coach put the best eleven out there tonight and we showed it.”
Emmanuel “Nana” Ayken was the unanimous man of the match following the game after his two goal performance.
“It felt good getting the two goals,” Ayken continued. “I believe for me the team comes first before the individual and I think as a team we played very well. We played fantastic… We wanted to make a good first impression to our fans and to our home.”
Ayken was bombarded with fans and friends following his spectacular performance, and many of the other Guerrero players stuck around to sign autographs for all in attendance.
The Guerreros will look to continue their success when they welcome top of the league Riverside Coras to Del Sol Stadium Saturday Apr. 1 at 5:30.
“I think we just have to play our game and play our way and as you can tell when we played the way we want to play and how the coaches have been asking us to play we look unstoppable,” Ayken concluded.
Ayken also wanted to let all the fans know to “keep coming to support us and we will try our best to provide the media expectation and do our best to give you what you came here for… the win.”