By Gabriel Naudin/Oxnard Guerreros FC
Sunday, February 10th marked the beginning of the season for both Oxnard and Riverside.
The two teams met in Riverside at J.W North Stadium on a day where the sun didn’t seem like it was going to show up as much as the Guerreros did. In a game that went back and forth the visiting Guerreros were able to secure their first three points of the season with a 4-2 win.
Early on the Coras controlled the game getting chance after chance, but the strong hands of Angel Cervantes and sturdy defending from Cameron Dejong and Aaron Glover kept the Coras scoreless. This would continue into the 20th minute until the Guerreros were able to find open space behind the Coras back line. Ibrahim Sow was in a race with the Coras center back and after a scrum in the box the ball fell to his feet where he then found Gabriel Naudin, who was able to play the ball across the box to a wide-open Brenton Frame at the back post. This would be Frame’s first of three on the day and the eventual Man of the Match had high praise for his teammates and coaches: “I was encouraged to get into the box and create chances for the team, and thankfully tonight I was able to put a few in the back of the net.”
This goal was soon followed by Frame’s second. After a long throw was headed out to the edge of the box, Frame wasted no time and hit a one-time volley into the back of the net, beating the goalkeeper at his near post. This would take the score to 2-0, but it wouldn’t stay that way for long.
Shortly after the restart Riverside was able to get back to their attacking ways. The pressure was put on the Guerreros and after just scoring they got caught sleeping. The Coras were able to get their first goal on the board and get them back within striking distance. Both teams would continue to create chances, but the score would stay 2-1 going into half.
Halftime team talks were led by second-year head coach Juan Florez and he stressed the importance of getting back to our game and moving the ball around at a high tempo. Florez was very adamant that the Guerreros look to find the feet of playmaker Tito Anguiano.
Anguiano would reap the benefits of getting more balls to his feet, but not before Cervantes kept the lead for the Guerreros on an important penalty save in the 70th minute. This save would propel the Guerreros to their third goal of the night scored by Anguiano. Anguiano was able to find some space on the weak side of the Coras defense and once Raul Gonzales picked up his head and perfectly timed a pass in behind, it was up to Anguiano who was now one-on-one with the Coras goalkeeper. “Tito,” as they call him, slotted the ball home and gave the Guerreros a 3-1 lead and it seemed that the game was all but over.
That is until the Coras pushed more and more numbers forward in order to attempt the comeback. A ball that was thought to be cleared found the feet of a Coras player and the pace behind the shot allowed for the ball to skip off the already slick surface and proved too hard to handle for Cervantes, making the score 3-2 with 20 minutes left to play.
Both teams would battle back and forth, but it was ultimately the Guerreros day and specifically Brenton Frame’s as he netted his third goal to give him a hat trick in his debut for the Guerreros.
The game would finish 4-2 in favor of the team from Oxnard.
“We’re just trying to take things one game at a time,” Frame said when asked about this season’s expectations. “Of course we want to win every game, but I think making playoffs is a realistic goal for this team. We need to continue to work hard each and every week because this is going to be a long season.”
Next up on the agenda for the Guerreros is to open their season at home against Temecula FC on Saturday, February 16. Temecula will make the daunting trip into Campo Guerrero against a hungry Oxnard side looking to build on their opening win.
Photo Credit: Brandon Jones/Oxnard Guerreros FC