Photo Credit @theProjectfc
The CD Aguiluchos USA traveled to Pioneer Stadium to play local county rivals, the East Bay FC Stompers, for their second of three meetings of the year. Since the Stompers moved to the East Bay last year, they have yet to defeat their rivals. Leg 2 of the 2017 Alameda County Derby was no different.
The Aguiluchos opened the game with some really good goal scoring chances, but failed to convert on them. The action started in the 7th minute when the lethal attacking duo of Aguiluchos linked up as Ross Middlemiss slipped in Simon Rawnsley with a great through ball that he failed to finish. Then again in the 11th minute and the 16th minute, the Aguiluchos attack put them in dangerous areas, but their attacks failed to test the Stompers late replacement goal keeper, Alejandro Escobedo.
For the remainder of the first half, the Stompers built their way back into the game against the topside in the Golden Gate Conference. East Bay got into some good areas on the field throughout the first half, but were not successful in pulling the trigger. Instead they tried to pass their way through the entire Aguiluchos defense.
The best chance of the half for the Stompers came in the 30th minute when Arturo Gomez whipped in a good free kick that found the head of Zanin Mahic, but the ball went just wide of the post.
The half would finish 0-0 with the balance of possession very even. However, the Aguiluchos created the more dangerous goal scoring threats and took more shots.
The game remained scoreless until the 54th minute when playmaker, Ross Middlemiss, headed home his 2nd goal of the year on the back post to give the Aguiluchos the lead.
The Aguiluchos continued to threaten the Stompers throughout the second half, but failed to find the insurance goal as the Stompers goal keeper, Alejandro Escobedo, made multiple big saves and controlled his box well.
Then late in the match in the 79th minute, the East Bay Stompers drew a penalty in the box for a handball. Captain Jesse Kehoe stepped up to take the penalty shot. He went for the chip shot, but over hit it and the ball rebounded off the cross bar right back to him. Kehoe attempted a follow up header, but was called for an illegal touch as he was the first to touch the ball again after the penalty kick. The Aguiluchos dodged a bullet as the score remained 1-0.
The Aguiluchos eventually claimed the insurance goal as they drew a penalty in the 86th minute. NPSL two- time defending golden boot winner and current Golden Gate Conference scoring leader, Simon Rawnsley, stepped up to score his 6th of the year in just 5 matches.
The match ended 2-0. The Aguiluchos picked up their 5th win in as many games and went 8 clear of Sonoma County at the top of the Golden Gate Conference. This was also the Aguiluchos’ first clean sheet of the year. The loss would see the Stompers drop their 4th match of the year, and put them alone in last place of the 5 team Conference with just 1 point.
The win also clinched the Alameda County Derby season series for the Aguiluchos regardless of what happens in the 3rd leg on May 27th as they have now won both the 1st and 2nd leg, and taken the season series for the 2nd year in a row.