On Saturday Academica SC traveled to Kezar Stadium in downtown San Francisco to take on first-place El Farolito.
The noon kickoff meant perfect weather for the match at the historic stadium. The match started with both teams looking equally dangerous. El Farolito looked like a first place team as they attacked from the wings through Edson Cardona and Arnhold Rivas while Academica’s defense looked airtight led by Brennen Canfield and Roberto Ellis-Lopez.
Early pressure on El Farolito’s goal resulted in three consecutive corners for Academica SC as El Farolito could not deal with the long ball over the top. They were able to counter attack and in the 20th minute, Arnhold Rivas hit the post off a lofted shot over Academica goalkeeper Jose Barriga. El Farolito maintained possession as Academica was forced to play it long for striker Ramiro Ceja. He was able to find several shots but El Farolito keeper Mario Martinez was there to smother them. Academica’s Adrian Plascencia was able to maintain possession for Academica in the midfield as Fermin Chaidez looked to cut open the El Farolito back four.
Both teams went into halftime with the score still at 0-0. El Farolito started the second half brighter as they were able to create several chances with Academica’s defense scrambling to clear their lines. In the 65th minute, a long goal kick from Martinez looped over the head of AC defender Beto Ellis-Lopez, who was forced to bring down the El Farolito striker to avoid the one-on-one situation. Lopez was shown a red card and Academica were down to 10 men for the remaining 25 minutes. With 10 minutes left, a Farolito striker found space in the 18-yard box only for Barriga to make a huge save for a corner kick. AC looked to lock down the match as El Farolito looked to penetrate their defenses from the wings.
As the clock wound down, Academica were able to counter Farolito’s advances through the direct route with Ceja and Edwin Rodriguez finding space and time to take on defenders high up the field. Academica had several opportunities to find the winner at the close of the match, but both teams settled for the draw and the split points.
Academica takes on FC Davis at home for their next match as El Farolito travels to Oakland to play CD Aguiluchos USA in a battle at the top of the table.
Contributor: By Simon Bettencourt/Academica SC
Photo Credit: Brittney Virgo/Academica SC