By Gabe Zitrin
San Francisco City FC’s three match Premier Development League winning streak came to an end at home on Sunday, as the Southern California Seahorses pulled off a 2-1 upset at Negoesco Stadium. T.J. Ifaturoti’s 20th minute strike gave the visitors the lead before SF City’s Davi Ramos took it away ten minutes later, but Emilio Huerta’s free kick goal just after the restart held up as the game winner. The loss further muddles the standings in the PDL’s Southwest Division, but SF City have more than enough season left to make another challenge for the top of the standings.
SF City started brightly, with midfield captain Danny Kirkland forcing a diving second-minute save from SoCal goalkeeper Vincent Morales and putting a 17th minute free kick from near the right corner inches from both the far post and the feet of several charging teammates. But against the run of play, the Seahorses went ahead through Ifaturoti. SF City headed a long free kick away from the box, but it was gathered in by Seahorses winger Leo Contreras, whose end-line run and centering pass set off a mad scramble before Ifaturoti calmly slotted past SF City’s Kienan Weekes from six yards.
SF City fought to erase the deficit and thought they’d done it nine minutes later when Barry McCabe’s cross deflected to Bryce Kaminski, whose neat first touch put the ball past Morales. Celebrations were put on hold when the assistant referee signaled for offside. Rather than get flustered, SF City continued to press and got even the following minute. Robert Hines lofted a long ball that Ramos got to before Morales, flicking a header over the top from outside the box and into the back of the net.
Though SF City took the momentum into the locker room, the Seahorses came out with it, and in the 48th minute pulled ahead for good. Huerta’s long free kick got caught in the swirling winds that made balls fly strangely all afternoon, and the ball bounced at the edge of the box before finding the top left corner of the goal.
SF City controlled much of the match after conceding a second goal and managed far more scoring chances, many of them in a furious ten-minute rally to end the game that saw huge saves from Morales and a stoppage-time rocket shot off the crossbar from SF City’s Manny Padilla.
But the equalizer wasn’t to be found, and the Seahorses finish their trip North on a high note. With the lion’s share of possession, shots, and chances created, SF City will be out for what they feel is a deserved revenge win this Friday, when the two teams meet again at Biola University in La Mirada, California.