The Sonoma County Sol hosted East Bay FC Stompers in Santa, Rosa California on a beautiful summer evening in front of the biggest crowd of the season. Sol faced a formidable task in trying to defeat the Stompers after losing seven of nine points to them over the course of the regular season.
The Golden Gate Conference, which for years has been dominated by the Sol and Sacramento Gold, has seen a strong presence by CD Aguiluchos in the last couple of years. Now with a move to the East Bay and some savvy player recruiting, the Stompers have announced their intent to challenge for the top of what is already one of the toughest conferences in the NPSL.
The game started slow with the Sol having majority of possession, but the Stompers getting more chances in the attacking third. In the 45th minute, Stompers’ Arturo Gomez placed what initially looked like an off-balance shot, neatly into the top left corner to give Stompers a lead.
Sol started the second half with an infusion of energy led by recent addition Luke La Vanway, who really stepped up his intensity and seemed to lift the entire team. In the 75th minute Justin Ferreira played a long ball from center back out to the right wing where Marco Barragan brought it down in stride. He then carried the ball on an amazing solo run, beating two Stompers defenders and taking the ball to the byline. Barragan then played it back to the penalty spot where Taylor Varnadore was waiting to bury it for the equalizer.
Two minutes later Sol midfielder Noah Paravacini was fouled on the edge of the box for a Sol penalty, which was successfully taken by Varnadore to put the Sol up 2-1.
Late in the game the Sol where able to take advantage of the Stompers getting men forward in an attempt to equalize. That last goal came from Sol midfielder Nico Spann.
“Our boys showed a lot of character coming back in the second half,” Sol assistant coach Andrew Bailey commented. “The players coming off our bench are as strong as the starters, which was crucial in this game and puts us in a very good position for the playoffs. We are not overlooking anyone in the NPSL and will prepare hard this week for Battalion.”