Gold’s playoff hopes end with season finale loss

Sacramento Gold FC’s 2016 NPSL season came to a close Saturday with a 4-2 loss to the East Bay FC Stompers at Capital Christian High School.

Jason Jones and Keenan Armbrust scored for Sacramento. Victor Parra notched a brace for East Bay, while Arturo Gomez and Lewis Saxelby also netted goals.

The Stompers got off to a running start in the ninth minute, when Eder Guzman found himself with the ball in space at the left corner of the box. Guzman lofted a pass to the right post, directly in the path of a sprinting Parra, who poked it in for a 1-0 East Bay lead.

After fighting off further pressure, the Gold defense turned the momentum over to the offense, which created chance after chance as the first half went on. The closest came in the 26th minute, when Cylus Sandoval made a nice run down the right side and fired a cross back into the box. Jose Martinez met it first time, sending a buzzing shot inches wide of the post.

Looking to keep the momentum going into the second half, the Gold had it taken away in the 47th minute when Gomez stole a pass in the defensive third and went on goal. Sacramento goalkeeper Andres Olmedo came out and was able to swipe the ball away.

But, the danger would only be averted shortly. Four minutes later, Sacramento was pressing the Stompers goal when the visitors were able to clear the ball, creating a three-on-one chance at the other end. Parra, who led the charge, took the shot himself, putting it in the back of the net to make it 2-0.

East Bay would add to it in the 60th minute thanks to a mental lapse by the Gold. Passing back and forth, the defense somehow lost the ball, Gomez picking it up. Gomez dribbled right through the disheveled defense and around Omedo, slotting the ball in to increase the lead to 3-0.

The Gold would continue to fight, finally hitting paydirt in the 73rd minute. Another great run by Sandoval was followed by another nice cross into the box. This time, it was finished, as Jones tapped the ball in to cut the deficit to 3-1.

It was nearly cut to 3-2 in the 80th minute. Off a Gold corner kick, the ball found its way to Armbrust in the middle. Armbrust struck it well, but the ball bounced off the left post.

Five minutes later, the Stompers put the game away. On another counter attack, Prince Bere swung a cross to Saxelby at the left post. Saxelby headed the ball down between Olmedo’s legs and into the net, bringing the difference back to three goals, this time at 4-1.

Still, Sacramento would not give up. Off another corner kick, East Bay goalkeeper Marcus Rojas punched the ball away, only for it to bounce right to Armburst. This time, Armburst got his reward, volleying the ball into the goal to cut the lead to 4-2. It was as close as the Gold would get.

With the loss, coupled with other results, Sacramento Gold FC will miss the playoffs for only the second time in its history.

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