Albion SC Pros was handed their first loss of the year against Sonoma County Sol, 1-0 in the West Region finals Saturday night.
In the first ten minutes of play, Albion had a couple of solid chances on goal but couldn’t capitalize. Both plays were attempted from forward Tre Hayes as he used his speed to collect the ball played over the top. The first shot hit the crossbar and second just missed wide right.
Sonoma answered back with an attempt of their own five minutes later due to a loose ball. Albion’s backline miscommunicated giving Sonoma a free chance but was shot out wide.
The first half was filled with arousing opportunities from both teams, but neither of them could put a number on the board. The game was still tied 0-0.
When the whistle blew for the start of second half, it was Sonoma that delivered explosive aggression towards Albion’s defense that rewarded them a goal. With Sonoma’s forwards pressuring their defense, Albion missed a couple of key clearances which eventually led to a coughed up ball near the box. Next came Sonoma forward Diego Lopez, who was played a through ball down the middle and placed it behind the net.
One of Albion’s defensive leaders this game, Kuba, described the goal as “a mistake.”
“We were opening up ready to start playing in the back,” Kuba said. “They heard us and got a goal.”
Despite being down 1-0, Albion did not stop fighting. Due to Sonoma’s tall backline, Albion found success using their speed to beat them with balls played over the top. Chances came pouring in for Albion, but they were still unable to get themselves a goal.
The West Region finals ended with a result of 1-0 with Sonoma County Sol coming on top.
This final consisted of two teams in the NPSL that were both conference victors with very similar style of play. What contrasted them was their backgrounds.
Sonoma County Sol are known as the veterans in this matchup. Founded in 2004, Sonoma has been able to create a winning legacy with accomplishments like a national title and seven conference titles.
Albion SC Pros on the other hand, just came off of an undefeated regular season, something quite remarkable for a teams’ first year in the NPSL.
“Overall I’m very pleased with [our first year] and it just goes to show how ready this community is for something bigger in the future,” Albion head coach Ziggy Korytoski said.
Sonoma County Sol will advance to the NPSL semifinals where they will continue to battle to become national champions.