FC Davis traveled into San Francisco to clash with Golden Gate Conference first place holders El Faralito on Sunday afternoon for what turned out to be a game full of controversy.
The noon start time pitted the Golden Lions against perennial SF powerhouse and US Open Cup winner El Faralito who had four wins, two ties and zero losses on the season.
The first twenty minutes started off as expected, as the two attacking sides traded chances in an up-and-down period that saw each side missing opportunities on frame.
A little after the twenty minute mark, the game took a turn for the away side as FC Davis goalkeeper Kris Schultz collided with an oncoming El Farolito forward which sent him to the pitch.
Rolling in pain on the field, Schultz exited the game after back spasms were too great to overcome. In his place, Gerardo Perez-Plata entered the field for his first NPSL minutes between the posts.
Shortly after, the home side drew a free kick and slotted it home in the corner of the net giving them a early lead.
“We were disappointed in the initial call and the goal only compounded the frustration,” said FC Davis captain Brain Ford. “Anytime the match is changed by a questionable call or non-call it eats at you.”
The goal fired up the away side, as FC Davis answered with the own of their own through a PK from FC Davis leading scorer Miguel Acevedo.
Heading into half-time the Golden Lions were confident for a positive second half.
“As a team, we felt we were in a good place,” said FC Davis midfielder Andisheh Bagheri. “We started to adapt to their system and figure out how to structure our game to counter theirs.”
The opening twenty minutes of the second half mirrored that of the first half as both sides had chances to put goals away.
Then at the 65 minute mark, controversy struck.
Off a corner, FC Davis found themselves in a scrum in front of the net. Pushing and shoving ensued as the ball found its way to Miguel Acevedo's foot who fired it on frame into an open part of the net.
Just before Acevedo’s shot crossed the line, an El Farolito defender put his hand out and prevented the ball from going in.
Played stopped as both teams thought a whistle was for sure to come, but nothing was heard.
FC Davis ran to the referee in protest for an extended period of time who continually waived them off.
“It should of been a straight red and a PK,” said head coach Andrew Bailey. “No question about it.”
Shortly after more questionable calls ensued as FC Davis forward Kyle Higgins was ran over from behind in the box as he was winding up to take an open shot.
Once again, no whistle came and the Golden Lions were furious with the referee.
“Mistakes happen, we are all human,” said FC Davis defender Jorge Negrete. “But those seemed obvious calls from every point of view.”
Having felt they should be a man up and awarded two penalties, FC Davis regained focused and saw the match out as El Faralito pressed for a winner in the final 10 minutes.
The final whistle blew and concluded a controversial, back and forth battle that saw FC Davis take a point on the road against El Faralito.
Next Match For FC Davis
FC Davis returns to action this Sunday to take on CD Aguiluchos in a huge match-up with playoff implications for the Golden Lions. One point separates 3rd and 6th place as all teams will be looking to clinch the 3rd and final playoff spot in the final seven game stretch of the regular season. The match is a 4:00PM special.
- Julian Ruzzier-Gaul was out of the match in concussion protocol.
- Kris Schultz left the game with a back injury and is day to day.
- Saturday's game was played at historic Boxer Stadium in San Francisco.
- El Faralito is named after the popular burrito chain that is the team owners.
- El Faralito won the US Open Cup, which is one of the worlds oldest tournaments that includes amateur teams through MLS teams.
- Gerardo Perez-Plata received his first minutes in net for FC Davis.
- FC Davis has now tied five of seven games on the season.