Danny Kirkland scored a brace, including an 89th minute equalizer, before Carlo Eikani scored the extra time winner to lead SF City to a thrilling comeback victory at Kezar Stadium.
Leading up to the exciting conclusion which saw SF City take the 3-2 victory, the match swung back and forth with both sides creating chances and playing entertaining, attacking football for the fans in attendance at Kezar Saturday afternoon.
City appeared to have the better of the match early on, but the momentum swung after a melee in City’s box led to a headed goal by Ballistic forward Alex Litz in the 35th minute.
Six minutes later, City was level on a brilliant free kick goal from captain Danny Kirkland in the 41st minute. Kirkland cooly struck the swerving left footed free kick from 25 yards out and watched it bend perfectly into the side netting to draw City level going into halftime.
Tied 1-1 at halftime, the sides took the field in the second half and immediately resumed where the they left off in the first, with both teams attacking well and battling to control midfield possession.
10 minutes into the 2nd half, Ballistic capitalized on a rare error from Kirkland as Ballistic player/coach Stefan Clemens, picked the Captain’s pocket just outside the SF City penalty box during a City buildup. Clemens found himself with a clear path to goal and cooly finished, giving Ballistic a 2-1 lead.
After the go ahead goal, Ballistic carried the momentum and created several more chances.
City remained steadfast, however, and continued to probe into Ballistic’s penalty box, looking for the equalizer.
Despite City’s persistence (and several missed opportunities to tie the match), it looked as though Ballistic would hold on for the win until the thrilling final minutes of the match.
The tying goal came after a beautiful move down the left side which put midfielder George Plakorus into a dangerous position on the right side of goal. Plakorus cut back to Kirkland at the top of the box, who dribbled past one defender and took a left-footed shot which took a slight deflection and found the back of the net.
In the 89th minute, the match was tied 2-2.
Kirkland showed no satisfaction with settling for the tie, shouting to his teammates to regroup for the restart kickoff and push for the winning goal with the match winding down into extra-time.
Then, in the second minute of extra time, City took the lead for good after Plakorus again initiated down the left side, beating a Ballistic player and crossing to find the head of Carlo Eikani. Eikani’s header floated past the diving Ballistic goalkeeper, giving City the decisive 3-2 lead.
As the match concluded, the fans in attendance took their feet to applaud a heroic SF City comeback effort and an afternoon of skillful soccer in the heart of San Francisco.
With the win, City’s record goes to 1-0 in NorCal Summer League play while Ballistic falls to 0-1.
The remaining Summer League home and away should be available for release later this week.