With the summer season upon us, NC Battalion traveled north to Temecula on the first warm weekend in Southern California. Temperatures were approaching 100 degrees as the rematch between Temecula FC kicked off on Saturday evening. Battalion would finish with its best offensive performance and a final score of 7-2 over the Quails.
The action started early in the 3rd minute with the men in black stringing together a series of passes and Asher Booth almost squeezing the ball by Temecula goalkeeper Salem Bortcosh. Battalion would have another close chance but Esteban Reyes headed the ball straight into Bortcosh’s hands. Blake Milton would be the first to score in the 15th minute after a strong shot at goal hit the bottom of the crossbar and dribbled past the goal line.
Temecula’s Steven Lamberta would receive a yellow card in the 18th minute after a hard challenge took down Booth. Both sides turned up the intensity at that point. Booth would score his second NPSL goal and third for the Battalion after a flick from Reyes in the 23rd minute. A water break for the guys briefly stopped the action in the 33rd minute.
Temecula went down to 10 men when Lamberta earned a red card after a studs-up challenge in the 39th minute. The score remained 2-0 as both teams headed into halftime.
Both teams were barely on the pitch for three minutes when Temecula finally scored their first goal. A throw-in was headed in by Orozco past James Stroud in the 47th minute. However, the Battalion did not want to give the Quails a chance to come back on their home turf. An offensive onslaught by the men in black started in the 48th minute when Booth’s shot was pushed high by Bortcosh, hit the crossbar and bounced forward to allow Eric Lopez a header. It would be the first of four goals from Lopez.
The Battalion extended the lead to 4-1 when Booth scored his 3rd goal in 2 NPSL games off a corner kick from Michael Harrow. Lopez would provide the remaining highlights as he capitalized on Temecula’s back line losing steam. “When they went down a man, I used that to my advantage with my speed” said Lopez. Lopez finished the full match scoring in the 70th, 73rd and 86th minute of this scorcher of a game.
Temecula earned a penalty kick after a yellow card was issued to Stroud. The Quails’ 2nd goal of the night was too little, too late for a comeback. The Battalion earned three points on the road in their final road game making them undefeated on the road.
NC Battalion will have a couple days of rest and before they play Corinthians at home on Wednesday in a closed rematch of a previously canceled game. Catch the men in black in their final regular season Saturday game on Saturday, June 25. Get your tickets here!
Man of the Match:
Eric Lopez played a full 90 minutes and scored 4 goals against Temecula FC to win man of the match for Battalion. This is the 2nd time that Lopez received MotM honors for NCB. Combined with 3 additional goals, Battalion earned a decisive win over Temecula FC with their best offensive performance to date.