Christian Cline (left) and Diego Banda (right) race after the ball. [Photo by Daniel Leon]
By Johnny Martin | Reporter
Clovis Community and Fresno City squared off in the first cross-city rivalry game since the Crush started their program.
Facing a stronger, faster, undefeated Ram team, the Crush had trouble with the Fresno City offense out of the gate. With their high-pressure offense and a little miscommunication on the backline for the Crush, the Rams had scoring opportunities on multiple occasions in the first half.
Luckily for the Crush, their goalkeeper was on the top of his game in the first half. Jose Barraza made save, after save, after save in the first half, keeping the Crush in the game.
“They’re tough because they play real direct, we like to play the ball on the ground and they like a little more back and forth style,” Crush Head Coach Chad McCarty said. “It was a matter of us finding our rhythm and getting the ball on the ground and pass it around.”
With the game still tied at zero at the half, the Crush went into the locker room in need of some adjustments to generate more scoring chances in the second half.
Right out of the gate, those adjustments led to a scoring chance. Just about five minutes into the second half, the Crush were able to find their form as Oswaldo Torneo split two defenders perfectly with a through ball and Sergio Gonzalez was able to get on the end of it to punch it into the back of the net.
The Crush would hold the led for nearly half of the second half, but their luck would change with just about 20 minutes to go. Unfortunately, Clovis Community’s Freddy Moreno would be sent off after receiving his second yellow card of the match.
From that point on, Fresno City would control the ball and the game. The Rams would score two goals against an undermanned Crush team, using the open space to their advantage. Clovis Community would never be able to bounce back and they’d drop the match 2-1 to the Rams.
“Great game, great team, storied program, well coached [Fresno City], kind of an even match, the red card changed the game and tilted the field against us,” McCarty said. “I give a lot of credit to our guys, we fought, we scratched, we passed, and played well down a man, Fresno City is a lot to handle.”
The two will square off in the rematch, this time at Fresno City, on Oct. 28.
Inability to Finish Dooms Large for the Crush in Loss to COS
Looking back at their matchup, nobody would have guessed that Clovis Community was the team that lost 3-0.
After maintaining possession for majority of the first half, the Crush held the ball for just about the entirety of the second half. The only difference, College of the Sequoias capitalized on their few opportunities.
“It was tough, give credit to the College of the Sequoias,” McCarty said. “They were tough, they were scrappy, and they defended as a team and quite honestly it looked like they really wanted to win and to me that’s the difference.”
After falling behind just eight minutes into the second half, the Crush continued to create their scoring opportunities when finally they caught a break.
A potentially game-changing moment came when COS committed a foul in the box allowing a penalty kick to be awarded to the Crush. Christian Cline lined up looking to put his team on the board, but Giant’s goalkeeper Luis Rubalcava came up with a big save, stopping the PK attempt.
“We played well for stretches of the match,” McCarty said. “We missed a PK would’ve changed the momentum of the game, against a running play they get another goal and the game’s over.”
COS would add another goal shortly after the PK, on just their third opportunity of the half. The Crush continued to fight but to no avail, as their continued scoring opportunities never could end up in the back of the net. The Giants would pick up another goal in slop time, scoring their third goal in the 90th minute.
“One play out of the whole game [PK attempt], we had 90 minutes to put other opportunities away so I’d say the significance of it was one scoring opportunity we didn’t finish,” McCarty said. “With that being said, we had multiple scoring opportunities that we didn’t take care of and on the flipside we gave up two or three chances and we lose 3-0, that’s soccer in a nutshell.”
Moving forward, McCarty said they have to get organized in the back and stop giving up individual chances and once they get their own scoring opportunities they have to have the focus and concentration to put the ball away.
The Crush will look to do that and get back to their winning ways against their next opponent, the Renegades of Bakersfield College.