In their first game of the NISA Independent Cup, Bay Cities FC were able to salvage a point in the fleeting moments of the game in a 1-1 draw against California Victory FC.
For much of the match, Cal Victory FC were in control. They were the first to hit paydirt, after a complete worldie off the foot of Victory’s midfielder Giovanni Aguilar. After being left with open space from nearly 40 yards out, Aguilar brilliantly rifled it into the top right corner giving Victory the lead in the 28th.
Right before half, Bay Cities nearly found their equalizer. An excellent over-the-top pass sent Bay Cities’ Josiah Romero out towards the wing. After Romero settled the ball, he teed up Miguel Najar, whose curving shot flew right over the net.
Coming out of half, Bay Cities continued to mount attacks, but struggled to find the back of the net. While Bay Cities did find themselves in and around Victory FC’s 18-yard box, it was excellent work from Victory FC’s backline to keep the game scoreless.
Bay Cities’ equalizer would come in the 93rd minute, but not before a moment of heroism from the Bay Cities backline. Victory FC’s Victor Romero’s counter attack through ball gave teammate Omar Ramirez a chance for goal. His shot was headed off the goal line, by an alert bit of defending by Bay Cities’ Milan Rosic.
In the next minutes, Bay Cities found their breakthrough. In the 94th minute, David Godinez Chavez launched a ball in Victory’s 18 yard box. It bobbled around, and Victory FC’s keeper Roberto Llamas was unable to get the ball under control. It fell to Bay Cities’ Miguel Najar who slotted it home on the volley past the Victory FC defenders positioned on the backline.
The goal was a product of a tactical change employed by Bay Cities’ head coach Eduardo Hernandez. For the first half, he told his wingers to check in—to play in front of the opposing backline. As the game progressed he changed the plan, and had his midfield play balls over the top. But Hernandez doesn’t credit the last second equalizer only to a change in tactics, but to the players. “That’s the player’s grit,” he noted, after the game. “All credit to the players to fight back and get the tie.”
In a postgame chat, Bay Cities’ Diego Medina Chavez, who sent in that last second ball, reflected on the match. His strategy was to get the ball in the box quickly, having “confidence in the guys up top and to cause some trouble” for Victory FC defenders.
On Saturday, July 17, Bay Cities will travel to Portland and play Portland PDX in their second NISA match-up. Bay Cities will then return back to Redwood City to square off against Space United in their third NISA Independent Cup match on July 24, with kickoff at 5 p.m. at Sequoia High School. Tickets available now at here or by clicking the button below.
All photos by Christian Murillo. All content provided by Bay Cities F.C.