It was a glorious weekend for SF City FC, who defeated the Santa Cruz Breakers on Sunday by a convincing scoreline of 3-0. SF City hosted the Breakers at Kezar Stadium, looking to bounce back from consecutive difficult home matches. It was a pure City day, with heavy fog rolling in and Sutro Tower completely obscured from view.
The Iron and Gold immediately put pressure on the Santa Cruz defense, possessing the ball well through the midfield and looking dangerous in the final third. Despite their inability to find the net early in the game, SF City was clearly the dominant side, earning corners and creating chances at a much higher rate than their opponents. Santa Cruz had their first real opportunity in the 34th minute, earning a set piece near the area off a questionable foul on MLS legend and Santa Cruz forward, Ramiro Corrales. Corrales took the kick in front of the vocal home supporters, who were delighted to see the ball easily cleared away by defender Robert Hines.
SF City forward, Gerardo Mendoza, dominated the attack in the first half, firing multiple shots and looking hungry to find the net. In the waning moments of the half, Mendoza was able to break away from the Santa Cruz defense and pull the keeper away from his line, but lacked the support needed for the final touch. At the half, both teams remained scoreless.
In the second half, SF City continued to press for their breakthrough goal. The Breakers’ defense did their best to keep the team in the game, but eventually the ball bounced favorably for the Iron and Gold. After a series of close range shots for SF City, the ball ended up at the boots of Jesse Stafford-Lacey, who hammered a shot towards goal. The ball took a deflection off the Santa Cruz defense, and ended up in the back of the net. The drought was over, the supporters section went wild, and SF City’s hunger seemed to increase from the small taste of success.
The Santa Cruz Breakers did their best to respond, nearly leveling the score in the 81st minute and earning a corner. SF City cleared away the corner, and put their focus back into the attack. With stoppage time approaching, Edo Calvo-Salinas found himself with a breakaway towards goal. Instead of taking a shot, Salinas played a selfless ball to Armand Bagramyan who buried it in the goal in an exemplary moment of teamwork from the two second half substitutes. In the final minutes of the match, midfielder Kei Tomozawa notched a third goal for SF City, adding insult to injury for the Santa Cruz Breakers. At the final whistle, SF City held on to the 3-nil lead.
When asked of the result, Robert Hines noted, “We had to focus today, we wanted to get the dub.” Defender Barry McCabe elaborated, “This has been a long time coming, the end product today was goals and we’re happy to get the win.” At the half, head coach Paddy Coyne delivered an uplifting message to the guys. “We discussed some areas we could improve on… and I thought everyone, the subs included, focused and improved on those (areas), which set us up to break the deadlock. To go on and win in the way we did, and get the clean sheet was massive,” recalled Hines. On his way to the locker room Ramiro Corrales remarked on the atmosphere at Kezar Stadium, “I’ve never seen anything like this (in PDL).”
SF City FC hosts two final games at Kezar Stadium in 2018, schedule and tickets are available at http://sfcityfc.com/tickets/.