The final leg of a 3 game season series between the East Bay FC Stompers and CD Aguiluchos USA went the way of the host as Aguiluchos won 2-0. This new rivalry began this season in the NPSL Golden Gate Conference as the former San Francisco Stompers moved to the East Bay City of Hayward to meet their new Alameda County rivals from Oakland.
The Aguiluchos took the first leg of the 2016 Alameda County Derby on April 9th when they won 3-1 on their home field. The second leg was hosted by the Stompers on May 13th and played to a 1-1 draw. This left the final leg of the Derby to determine the season series championship in the rivalry. The Stompers needed a win by 2 goals or more to take the season series, while the Aguiluchos needed just a draw to take the County bragging rights for the season.
The final leg kicked off at 7:30 pm on June 18th at Raimondi Park in Oakland, as Aguiluchos were the host. An early mistake at the back for the Stompers led to a Simon Rawnsley rebound goal to give the host an early 1-0 lead. This was Rawnsley’s 18th Goal of the campaign as he looks to defend his NPSL Golden Boot title.
The Stompers built their way back into the game and began to dominate the game through their possession, but were not able to create any major scoring threats, as the half would finish 1-0. This continued in the second half as the Stompers’ dominance in possession did not lead to many high quality chances, and the Aguiluchos were able to create some half decent chances on the counter attack.
Another mistake at the back for the Stompers was off of an Aguiluchos corner kick, which was not properly cleared. Again Simon Rawnsley buried the loose ball for his 2nd of the game, and 19th of the season. This goal came in the 80th minute, all but sealing the game and the season Derby for the Aguiluchos.
The Aguiluchos now have just one game remaining as they look to secure the regular season Golden Gate Confrence title. They currently have 24 points, 4 points clear of Sonoma County Sol at the top of the table, but the Sol have 2 games in hand. They will meet each other on the final day of the season to most likely determine who get’s the top seed in the west regional NPSL playoffs.
The Stompers have 16 points with 2 games remaining. They will most likely have to win both of the final 2 games of the season to make it into the last playoff spot. They host Sonoma next weekend before they travel to face the Sacramento Gold on the final day of the season. This final matchup against the Gold will most likely determine who gets the final playoff spot.
The rivalry in Alameda County will continue to grow. If the Aguiluchos and Stompers somehow meet in the playoffs, it will sure to be one of the most exciting games of the Golden Gate Conference Season if not the entire NPSL.