By Gabe Zitrin, photo by Alaina Preston
Backed against the wall, finding themselves down 2-0 at home, San Francisco City Football Club responded with a massive second-half outburst to down Orange County SC Under-23 by a 6-2 score line at Negoesco Stadium on Sunday.
Captain Danny Kirkland scored a hat trick’s worth of penalty kicks, with Kamron Crow, Bryce Kaminski and Robert Hines adding second half goals to turn a two-goal home deficit into victory for the second time this year.
SF City’s scoring threats began almost at the opening whistle, but despite half-chances in the early going from two of their Stanford contingent, Foster Langsdorf and Bryce Marion, it was the visitors who went ahead against the run of play after 12 minutes. OC captain Shinya Kadono made a charging run down the right channel and put a leading pass straight into the path of Alcantara, who finished neatly past SF City goalkeeper Taylor Bailey.
SF City continued to dominate the chances created, with back-to-back shots from Kirkland and Davi Ramos being cleared off the line by the defense in the 22nd minute, and Hines and Ramos coming inches away in the 23rd. So SF City’s fans were doubly shocked to see the visitors score the second goal of the game in the 25th minute, after Christian De Luna was adjudged to have fouled his man on a ball across the penalty box and Alex Sanchez converted neatly from the penalty spot.
But turnabout is fair play, and what was shaping up to be a long day for SF City got a lot shorter just before the break. A quick one-two between Hines and Bobby Edwards in the OC box put Hines in on goal and forced a foul from behind. Kirkland made his spot kick easily to reduce the halftime deficit to a less-intimidating one.
Coming out of the locker room, SF City dominated, first equalizing from the penalty spot in the 50th after Langsdorf juked past keeper Patrick Harding and forced him into a takedown, and when the referee raised a yellow card and pointed to the spot, Kirkland obligingly tied the score. It took only six minutes after that for SF City to take a lead they would not relinquish, as Ramos found Langsdorf on the right wing, who sent a screaming low cross that was hammered home by second half substitute Kamron Crow. And just a minute later, the home side found a two-goal lead of their own after Manny Padilla’s charging run forced yet another penalty box foul, and Kirkland completed his hat trick.
Now playing quickly and confidently with the deficit fading in the rearview mirror, SF City methodically worked two more second half goals from the run of play to give the home crowd their money’s worth – Hines’ slick move past a defender to fire home from the left side, and late sub Bryce Kaminski’s tenacious work to win the ball inches from goal and fire home from point blank range.
Playing with the disappointment of having been eliminated from Premier Development League playoff contention by the FC Golden State Force and Fresno Fuego wins the previous evening, SF City still needed to win to keep their hopes of a U.S. Open Cup berth alive by locking up third place in the Southwest Division, and with one regular season game left to play, they stand every chance of reaching one of the at-large qualification spots. That last game comes at home on Saturday, July 15 at 1pm, against peninsula archrivals Burlingame Dragons in front of the Negoesco home crowd.