Photo Credit: @theprojectfc
The San Diego Zest were the spoilers in SF City FC’s return to historic Kezar Stadium. The Zest controlled much of the first half before holding onto the lead in the second half to mark the end of their 3 game road trip to the Bay Area with a 2-0 victory.
San Francisco on the other hand was hoping a return to Kezar Stadium for the first time in two seasons would help them finally get their first win of the season. Unfortunately for the host, they would fall to 0-5-1 on the season as they have had some serious struggles in finding the back of the net.
The match started off quite slowly with neither side really able to create any major chances in the opening 15 minutes of play. It was the Zest who were slowly building the pressure with their ball possession as they began to earn a few corner kicks with their efforts.
The first chance fell to the Zest in the 20th minute when captain Niko Tagaloa headed his effort just over the cross bar. Then moments later in the 25th minute, Jose Marquez saw his effort from just outside the 6 yard box expertly blocked by San Francisco’s Noah Leong to keep the scores level.
Then just as it looked like we would head to the half scoreless, Niko Tagaloa came up with a powerful header late in the 1st half to give the road side the deserved 1-0 lead as they headed into the half time break.
Following the break, SF City came out with a couple of changes, one key one that would help change the game would be the substitution of Danny Kirkland into the match. For the most part in the second half, there was one-way traffic for San Francisco with a majority of the chances coming off of the left foot of Kirkland.
In the 62nd minute and then again in the 69th minute, Kirkland put in a perfect delivery from a free kick and one from the corner that no City player was able to get on the end of.
The best chance of the game that didn’t come from Kirkland fell to Esteban Berumen who was played through but was unable to test the Zest goalie, Rodrigo Sarmiento, as he fired his shot into the side netting.
As City continued to search for an equalizer they earned a free kick in the 84th minute from just outside the box that Danny Kirkland curved up and over the wall only to see it rebound just off the inside of the post and out.
Late into stoppage time the Zest found a second goal to seal the match when Shota Fukuda beat his man for effort to the ball before squeaking the ball past SF City’s keeper, Drew Romig, to double the lead.
City continued to fight to the last whistle as Kirkland once again hit the cross bar before City forced Rodrigo Sarmiento into his biggest save of the match just before the referee blew for full time as the Zest shut out SF City to win 2-0.