The Seals traveled to Lancaster to play the Rattlers on Friday night in the third game of the season. The Seals entered the game with one win and one tie.
Before the game, on Friday morning Seals players left the Bay Area in a caravan of cars that required multiple stops to pick up players on way to Lancaster, a 400 mile journey. The USF players were picked up in San Francisco, the Cal players in Oakland, and then two more players were picked up in Pleasanton and Tracey. There was more traffic on the road than anticipated and the team didn't arrive at the field in Lancaster until after 6PM. By the time the players were dressed and ready to warm up, there was only about 25 minutes to game time. This is life in the PDL and each game is an adventure.
Lancaster's field was poor. It has one of the most dramatic crowns we've seen, looking more like a hump than a crown. The grass was uneven and the surface hard. The wind was gusting and it was very cold. At approximately 4000 feet altitude, there was also the issue of lower oxygen content in the air. Suffice it to say, it was a long, tough day....before the game even started.
The Seals looked a bit "choppy" in the first 15 minutes or so. Goalkeeper Eric Conner got tested a couple of times and came up with the saves. As time moved on and the Seals players adjusted to the conditions, it became clearer that the Seals were definitely going to get some opportunities to score. The Lancaster team, using a 3-5-2, was very aggressive on the offensive side of things, but appeared vulnerable in defensive. Never-the-less, we ended the half: 0-0.
The Rattlers came at us in second half with everything they had. The defensive line anchored by Doug Carr and Tyler Berry withstood the pressure. Kellan Wilson came on in the second half with fresh legs and his usual aggressive game plan. Go at em!
As some additional subs began to replace some of the tired legs on the pitch (we used 17 players in the game), the momentum of the game turned.
Demitrius Omphroy made a number of runs with the ball from the right flank. Jesse Henderson came in a brought some strong work to the attacking effort playing behind Kellan. Victor Cortez tightened up the midfield and Josh Leon helped shut down the right side of the Rattlers attack. It was only a matter of time.
Kellan Wilson struck in the 83rd minute for the lone goal of the match. The defense held on and the Seals walked away with a glorious 1 nil win on the road. The Seals are now 2 wins and one tie. All three games were on the road.
The goal gives Kellan Wilson three for the season, as he continues to establish himself as a force to be reckoned with in the PDL. The goal also keeps the Seals undefeated in three matches so far this season, as the Seals have two wins and one tie.
Wilson earned player of the week this week for his play against Fresno Fuego, when he came on late in the match to score twice, and lead the Seals to a 3-2 come-from-behind win. Wearing a big grin on his face, Kellan was to the point: "Yea, that was pretty fun."
This Saturday the Seals play Orange County Blue Stars in the home opener at USF, 7PM. The game is an Open Cup Qualifier