Sacramento Gold won 5 – 1 last Saturday evening to secure the Golden Gate Conference’s entry to the US Open Cup. Sonoma Sol scored first, in the 18th minute, to go up 1 – 0. The Gold, however, responded with five goals to finish as the Golden Gate Conference’s single elimination tournament top team.
A very competitive contest ended the first half with Sacramento Gold responding to its first deficit with goals by Manolo Pina (assist John Jones II) and John Johns II off Clemente Fonseca’s corner kick. Both teams started the second half sharply. The Sonoma Sol had a number of dangerous opportunities as the Gold responded with robust defending. High pressure by the Gold forced a turnover in the Sol penalty area, as Clemente Fonseca intercepted and squared the ball across the goal mouth. Eliot Ricks-Cambers brilliantly dummied the ball for Manolo Pina, who slotted in the upper right corner for a 3 – 1 advantage.
The Gold’s defensive pressure created another Sol turnover, this time an unfortunate header back to the Sol keeper going over his head, and finished off by Pina into the open net, earning Manolo a hat trick on the night. Manolo also figured in the last Gold goal one minute into extra time at the end of the game. Pina drew two defenders to the left side of their penalty area, only to square the ball for an onrushing Clemente Fonseca to one time volley into the right corner of the goal.
Both teams worked extremely hard during the match, with numerous Gold players coming off exhausted and with leg cramps. The match seemed to turn on the turnover leading to the Gold’s third goal. Without the Sol turnovers, the match would have been a very close one.
Sacramento Gold now travels, as fate would have it, to Rancho Cotati High School (5450 Snyder Lane, Rohnert Park) for the Sol’s and the Gold’s NPSL opener Saturday night, March 30. Kickoff is at 7 PM.
Gold lineup (with substitutes): Jakubek, Smarte (de Alba, 71), Marroquin, Madu, Pina (Rene), Brioso, Colman (Espinoza 77), Ricks-Chambers (Martinez 76), Fonseca, Pina (Manolo), Jones (Alvarez 63)
Goals: Sonoma Middlesmiss 18th min; Gold Pina, M 27th min, assist Jones; Jones 38th min, assist Fonseca; Pina, M 58th min, assist Fonseca; Pina, M 72nd min, una
ssisted; Fonseca 90 + 1 min, assist Pina, M