Sunday, August 1, 2010

Sacramento Gold FC Claims 2010 NPSL Championship

Behind two goals from Ernesto Carranza, the Sacramento Gold FC defeated Chattanooga FC in the championship match of the 2010 edition of the NPSL Final Four.  Over 1,000 fans saw Chattanooga take an early lead when in the 12th minute Fynn Glover, who is more known for his timely tackling, struck a low drive from 22 yards that beat Conor McNulty in goal for Sacramento.

Just as they did in the semifinal match, Sacramento's attack was spurred to life after conceding the first goal.  This time, it took nearly the entire first half to break down the CFC defense, but when they did, they struck twice in quick succession.  In the 41st minute, a long penetrating pass was knocked down by CFC defender Andrew Stewart, but only as far as Carranza, who smashed a wicked volley from 25 yards that left Richard Masters in the CFC goal no chance.

A minute later, Sacramento followed up the golaso with a well taken corner from Eliot Chambers who found center back Utodi Madu.  Madu made no mistake when his header found the underside of the crossbar and bounded into the net.  The first half action wasn't over, however.  Shortly before the halftime whistle, a foul in front of the CFC bench left CFC midfielder Drew Courtney and Sacramento midfielder Hector Bermudez tangled up in a heap.  As the two player extracted themselves from each other tempers flared and Bermudez struck out with a kick to Courtney, resulting in a caution for Courtney and an ejection for Bermudez.

Down to ten men, Sacramento could have been content to sit back and defend, but instead decided to continue to attack throughout the second half.  The only change during the interval was Sacramento's Max Herera replacing McNulty in goal.  On the other end, Richard Masters was forced to make several interventions on his teams behalf.

Masters heroics seemed to help CFC gain confidence, and it looked as if the tide had turned in CFC's favor when in the 65th minute, good combination work from substitute Moises Drummond led to a strong run from Irvin Espinal.  Espinal played a nice ball to Luis Salazar whose return pass for Espinal was played into the penalty area, but Espinal would not get to the ball as his progress was impeded by a Sacramento defender and the penalty was awarded.

Espinal's game leveling penalty attempt was denied however by Herera who had confidently lunged to his left to parry the ball away.  CFC continued to apply pressure, but it was be Sacramento who ended the doubt in the 86th minute when Manolo Pina found Caranza in the penalty area.  Caranza cut the ball back to create space for a right footed shot that slid under Master's reach for the 3:1 scoreline and the championship trophy for the Sacramento Gold FC.
The Sacramento Gold FC celebrate the 2010 NPSL Championship

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