Gold reduced to nine men in stormy loss

While a storm raged in the sky, tempers flared on the field Friday, as Sacramento Gold FC finished with nine men in a 3-1 loss to OSA FC at Capital Christian High School.

Alex Bettencourt scored Sacramento’s lone goal. Steven Wright tallied two and Mario Dugo got one for OSA.

The scoring started in the 26th minute, well after the storm had begun to batter those on and around the pitch. Andrew Aur was played through on the right side of the field and broke away for a one-on-one with Sacramento goalkeeper John Connolly. As Connolly came out to contest, Aur passed the ball across to an unmarked Wright, who tapped it in to make it 1-0 to the visitors.

The flow of the game was permanently altered within a four-minute span shortly after the half hour mark. In the 35th minute, OSA sent a pass into the box which deflected off Danny Mititelu’s arm. The center official whistled for a penalty shot and issued Mititelu a yellow card. Wright converted the kick to double the lead to 2-0.

Then, four minutes later, Mititelu and an OSA player slid in for a tackle at the same time. A foul was called against Sacramento, with the official issuing Mititelu a second yellow card in less than five minutes, sending Mititelu off the field, and reducing the Gold to ten men.

The difference would be evident soon after the second half began. In the 50th minute, Aur lofted a cross into the box, which Dugo jumped and headed into the back of the net, increasing the lead to 3-0.

Despite the deficit on the scoreboard and in the lineup, Sacramento kept working until the end. The Gold finally broke through in the 84th minute. Bettencourt blasted a shot from the right side of the box into the roof of the net to make it 3-1. Unfortunately for the home squad, it was as close as they would get.

Sacramento nearly got the scoring started in the sixth minute off a free kick about 35 yards from goal. Stepping up to take the kick, Fernando De Alba launched a cross which Jose Martinez leapt up to meet in the box. Martinez’s header went to the left post, but OSA goalkeeper Colin Benham-Marin was able to make the save.

Shortly after, Wright began to become a menace for the Gold defense. In the ninth minute, Aur played Wright down the left side of the field. Wright fired a shot at goal, but the ball hit the right post and bounced out.

In the 13th minute, Aur whipped in a cross to Wright, who ran up the middle to the penalty spot. However, Mititelu was able to slide and flick the ball away for a corner kick. After the Gold defended the corner kick and attempted to clear the ball, Wright stole it and ripped a shot from the top of the box. Zach Ulrich was able to get a foot in front of the ball and deflect it out for another corner.

After getting his two goals, Wright nearly scored a hat trick in the final minute of the first half. After another steal by OSA, Wright worked his way into the center of the box. However, Wright sent his shot high off the crossbar.

Even after falling behind 3-0, the Gold kept battling to get back in the game. In the 63rd minute, Manolo Piña sent a cross towards Chimdum Mez at goal. However, the ball was a bit too high for Mez to get a proper header on it. Five minutes later, it was Mez tapping the ball to Piña on the left side of the box. Piña fired a shot at goal, but Benham-Marin dove to make the save.

As the storm above the field subsided, another began to brew on it. In the 75th minute, Bettencourt brought down Corban Anderson just outside the box. The nature of the foul drew some pushes and shoves from both sides and an additional yellow card for Anderson. Three minutes later, Piña slid in as Benham-Marin made a save. Benham-Marin stood above Piña and pushed him over, sending a bigger crowd of players swarming to the scene. After additional extracurricular activity, no additional yellow cards were issued.

In stoppage time, the frustration boiled over one last time. As Dawda Dibba dribbled to the corner, Rene Piña slid in and brought Dibba down from behind. Piña was issued a straight red card for the challenge.

The Sacramento Gold will next be in action on Saturday, May 28 as the team travels to face the East Bay Stompers. Kickoff is set for 5 pm at CSU East Bay’s Pioneer Stadium.

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