By Gabe Zitrin
Matt Wiesenfarth’s hot streak against San Francisco City FC continued to the final day of the season, as his clever second half goal lifted Burlingame Dragons to a 1-0 win over ten man SF City in both teams’ Premier Development League finale at Negoesco Stadium on Saturday. Neither team finished in the top two spots in the PDL Southwest Division, with SF City coming up inches short of a postseason berth for the second straight year.
In a jagged, back-and-forth game under sunny skies, SF City found its share of chances on the afternoon and controlled much of the play, but was unable to pierce Nico Corti’s goal, and finishes out the year with a slender defeat in the latest chapter of a rivalry that reliably produces hard-nosed play, frenetic fan behavior, and the occasional red card.
SF City largely limited Burlingame to half-chances in a scoreless opening frame, locking down the wings to prevent a repeat of their larger loss on the Peninsula earlier in the year. The home side managed mostly half-chances themselves, from Davi Ramos’ ostentatious attempt to lob Corti that went inches high in the opening ten minutes to his free kick that Corti tipped away inches in front of a charging Christian De Luna in the 25th.
As the game progressed the chances became more dangerous for both sides, with Stanford Cardinal players on either side trading well-worked shots that couldn’t stretch their opposing goalkeepers – SF City’s Foster Langsdorf, after a beautiful interplay between Ramos and Danny Kirkland, and Burlingame’s Amir Bashti, whose spin move just before halftime won him space for an open shot that SF City’s Taylor Bailey easily smothered.
The visitors came out of the locker room for the second half on the front foot, and after Bailey’s diving save on a headed free kick in the 48th minute, they went ahead for good on the ensuing corner kick. Tanner Beason’s corner found Wiesenfarth at the near post, and the former UC Davis player — who scored five against SF City in their two previous meetings this year — spun a back-heeled flick that found the far top corner.
SF City had almost all of the chances from that point on but couldn’t manage a repeat of their last-minute equalizer against the Dragons at the previous Negoesco meeting. Langsdorf found SF City and Stanford teammate Bryce Marion in the 66th, and Marion worked space for a shot that forced a full-extension save from Corti. Langsdorf’s hustle saw him take the ball of a central defender and drive down the right channel in the 81st, but with no time to wait for support he pulled his shot wide left.
Just moments later, Langsdorf was shown his second yellow card of the match after a challenge on the offensive end, and with the ranks thinned, SF City didn’t manage as many threats in the final minutes of play.
In their first year at the more intimate Negoesco, SF City’s game-day experience quickly earned a reputation as one of the PDL’s most exciting. The season’s final match was emblematic of a 2017 campaign characterized by one-goal margins, frantic late-game flurries, testy physical battles, and some of the loudest, most exuberant fans in amateur soccer.