For the 2nd time this season, the NPSL Golden Gate Conference features its two rivalry match ups on the same weekend. This will be the 3rd installment of the Alameda County Derby between Conference leaders CD Aguiluchos USA and the East Bay FC Stompers in 2017. The Wine Country Derby between Napa Valley 1839 and the Sonoma County Sol will be played for the 2nd of 3 times this season. This is the start of the home stretch for the Conference as the teams push towards the playoffs.
Alameda County Derby
The Aguliuchos took the first 2 legs of the rivalry already in 2017, winning their home opener in San Leandro over the Stompers 2-1 back in March as well as winning in Hayward 2-0 four weeks ago. The Aguliuchos will once again travel to Hayward to face the Stompers this Saturday. They have dropped just 2 points all season and have currently picked up 22 points from a possible 24. They won this past weekend as well 5-3 against the Sonoma County Sol, with the teams leading goal scorer, Simon Rawnsley, netting another 2 goals to bring his total to 9 goals in 8 games on the season. He also scored in both previous meetings against the Stompers already this year. The Aguiluchos can clinch the regular season Conference title this weekend with a win and a Sonoma loss or draw.
The Stompers on the other hand have earned their 1st winning streak of the year by picking up wins in their last 2 games. They earned a come-from-behind victory 2 weeks ago in Napa to win 2-1 and scored a last minute winner against Sacramento this past weekend at home to again win 2-1. With these back-to-back victories, the Stompers went from 1 point to 7 points, just 2 points back of 2nd place. With a victory over their rivals and a Sonoma loss or draw, the Stompers could see themselves in a playoff spot when just 2 weeks ago they sat in last place.
Wine Country Derby
In the first ever meeting between the 2 Clubs from the Wine Country, Napa Valley posted an epic 2nd half come back to earn a draw in front of their home fans. Napa went behind early and were down 2-0 by the half, before they scored twice. The 2nd goal came from Francisco Mendoza, down a man in the 90th minute to earn his team a point. This was one of the few bright spots in the team’s inaugural season as they have more often been the team giving up leads than making comebacks. They currently have picked up just 4 points from 4 draws in their first 7 matches. This will be the Club’s first trip on the road to Sonoma to face their rival.
The Sol started off hot this season with 2 wins following their 2016 national runner up season. However they have picked up just 2 points from their last 4 matches, and find themselves in 3rd place in a heated playoff battle. While they do have 2 games in hand on both of the teams in front of them, the Conference title is most likely already out of reach. A win Saturday in the Derby would go a long way in their push for the playoffs, while a loss pending other results could see them fall to 4th place and just points out of last place.