By Steven Ramirez/Riverside Coras FC
The Riverside Coras Football Club kick off their 2019 season at home against the Oxnard Guerreros FC. Riverside, CA, was cold, windy and rainy, but that didn’t stop either team from coming out and displaying a fiery product on the pitch.
Head coach Shane Shelton had two things to say to his young squad: “ First we just compete. We are going to make mistakes, [because] it’s our first game. It’s going to be a stressful environment and [the Guerreros] are a better team than we have been playing. The second thing is we need to just be willing to embrace the moment. For a lot of these kids it’s their first opportunity to play at this level, so we just want them to be confident and excited about it.”
The Coras fielded a few new players such as goalkeeper Alexis Moran, center back Luis Perez, and striker Adrian Moreno. Mixed in with the youth were Coras and NPSL veterans like midfielder Hugo Gutierrez and striker Paul Salcedo. While the players showed moments of brilliance, they failed to take advantage of multiple opportunities in front of the Oxnard goal.
Riverside dominated possession in the first half, but would give up a 37th minute goal off of a quick counter attack. The Coras passed through its diamond midfield and managed to move the ball into dangerous shots, but lacked the finishing to convert its chances. The heavy rain kept the first half slow, but as it started to slow in the second half both teams ramped up the tempo.
Oxnard came out in the second half and scored almost immediately putting them up two by the 48th minute. Riverside’s midfield boss would take matters into his own hands and score in the 49th. The Coras would continue to battle it out and in the 70th minute they would earn a penalty. Oxnard goalkeeper Angel Cervantes would be called into action again as he blocked the shot and bailed out his club once more. Riverside continued to apply offensive pressure and hold the ball in the Oxnard half, but as the Coras moved more members into the opposition half, they left open space for the Guerreros to exploit on the counter. The quick counter would attribute to the third goal in the 74th minute. Once again Hugo Gutierrez would come to the rescue and score another one in the 75th minute. The game opened up after that and was played from end to end. Eventually the Guerreros would counter once more in the 83rd minute and score the sixth and final goal of the match.
Man of the Match Brenton Frame would go on to score a hat trick, helping his Guerreros win the first game of the season. The Coras have two weeks before the next match, at home against new expansion side High Desert Elite FC. Those two weeks should prove to be beneficial for the young side as they look to continue to learn the new tactics set by head coach Shane Shelton.
While the Riverside squad may have lost, the Coras crowd showed that the bad weather wouldn’t stop them from cheering on their local side. It’s onwards and upwards for this booming soccer community.
Photo Credit: Catherine Upson