In a game that featured three red cards, yellow cards aplenty and lots of physicality, previously undefeated Napa Valley 1839 FC lost to visiting El Farolito of San Francisco on Saturday, 3-2, on a goal by reserve Marcos Iubel in the last minute of stoppage time.
Napa Valley 1839 FC had one last desperate shot attempt. El Farolito goalie Mario Martinez made a save on the play as the final whistle blew.
The National Premier Soccer League Game of the Week was an entertaining one for the fans who were on hand for the match at Justin-Siena High School’s Dodd Stadium.
Head coach Jesus Medina was not a happy man after the game and felt the number of whistles really hurt the flow of Napa Valley’s game.
“The game was stopped too many times,” he said. “And yet on the play that decided the game, our goalie (Javier Valdez-Raya) was knocked down on an obvious charge and nothing was called, leaving the goal wide open.”
Napa Valley 1839 (2-1-1), which plays in the Golden Gate Conference, came out strong and dominated the early play, scoring just three minutes into the game.
Napa Valley had a penalty shot opportunity. Max Alvarez hit the right post, but Arturo Ortega collected the loose ball and gave Napa Valley 1839 a 1-0 lead on a hard, left-footed drive from 15 yards that found the back of the net against El Farolito (2-0-1).
Ten minutes later, a red card on 1839 forward Bryan Marin for a challenge on El Farolito’s Gustavo Rueias left the home side short-handed.
In the 23rd minute, El Farolito was awarded its first corner kick and made the most of it. A low, curling ball from Arnhold Rivas found Irving Garcia and he made no mistake, beating Raya and tying the game at 1-1.
Despite being short-handed, Napa Valley 1839 took advantage of Arturo Ortega’s long throw-in to Max Alvarez, who beat Martinez and gave Napa Valley a 2-1 lead on Alvarez’s first goal of the year.
But just before the halftime whistle, El Farolito’s Luis Sampayo received his second yellow and was red-carded to the bench, evening the sides at 10 apiece for the second half.
“We had a man advantage for a long time and didn’t do much with it,” said El Farolito coach Santiago Lopez.
Both teams mounted promising attacks early in the second half, but with nothing to show for it.
When El Farolito’s Carlos Montes tied the game at 2-2 with a left-footed shot from 20 yards that beat Raya in the 68th minute, it appeared as though the momentum was shifting the visitors’ way.
The key play, just prior to Iubel’s winner, was another red card on Napa Valley 1839. It left Napa Valley with just nine players and that proved costly moments later when Iubel scored the game winner.
To El Farolito’s credit, it continued to attack with a man advantage in the final seconds and was finally rewarded.
“We didn’t know anything about Napa coming into this game,” said El Farolito’s coach, Santiago Lopez. “I was very impressed with the 1839 team, but also with the venue and the enthusiastic home crowd. Marcos Iubel, who came on as a substitute, made a great goal for us. We threw everything we had forward in the final 10 minutes.”
Both coaches noted it was early in the season, but Medina clearly felt Napa Valley 1839 let this one get away.
“I’m happy with our record at this stage, but not happy with this outcome,” he said.
Napa Valley 1839 FC returns to action April 14, when it travels to Davis for an NPSL game.