Seals Remain Unbeaten with 1-1 Draw vs Blue Star
by Paul Sheirich
Originally Published May 19, 2008
The Seals needed a win Saturday night to stay viable in their bid to participate in the U.S. Open Cup. Nobody knew that better than the players and coaches. But a draw against the Blue Star put that effectively out of reach, with one qualifier match left to play.
As the game got underway, it didn’t appear as though it would end in a draw.
The Blue Star started the game with the ball, but the Seals appeared to gain an edge early. The attack came swift and looked dynamic as the combination up top with Steven Cordova and Carlos Diaz made slashing and swift runs that split the defense.
Getting into the attack from the back, was Yousef Samy, who quickly moved up the sideline, beat the defense, and got off a dangerous cross.
Despite the consistent attacking pressure, the first half saw the Seals get off only two shots. One was on the mark.
The Seals attack came from the midfield and up both flanks. Dimitrius Omphroy, Eric Lafon, Victor Cortez, and Francisco Camacho, all were active on both sides of the ball, and placed pressure on the Blue Star with every possession.
Nothing was coming easy for the Blue Stars, but they kept coming.
Forward Jeff Clark showed his power and strength several times throughout the match, as the Blue Star player demonstrated how he scored four goals against the So. Cal. Seahorses earlier last week.
The only problem for Clark was the Seals defense.
All across the back line, the defense stood tough. It didn’t matter if it was Yousef Samy, Doug Carr, Rich Halvorsen, or Shea Whelan, nothing was coming easy for the Blue Star. Every penetration seemed to be shut down as the Seals defense stole the ball and sent it back up the field, or they knocked it away with solid and physical play.
The Blue Star did make the most of their chances though, and nearly every shot opportunity they had in the first half was on goal – not tough to handle, but on goal as they forced Seals keeper Dan Benton to make three of his five saves in the first half.
In the 19th minute, the Seals struck. Omphroy laid a perfect pass up top for Cordova, who slammed the ball past Blue Star keeper Kris Minton and into the back of the net. Cordova then thrilled the crowd of 340 fans with a cartwheel and back flip!
The Seals lead didn’t last long though, and as often happens in this great game of soccer, the Blue Star came right back with a goal of their own in the 22nd minute. Forward Oscar Aguero knocked in the ball, and the score was 1-1.
Then next 70 minutes of play was solid by both teams, but fans, players, and coaches alike felt the Seals were going to pull this one out. The attack was particularly strong in the latter minutes of the match. Kellan Wilson came on shortly into the second half, and immediately had a one-on-one situation with Minton. Wilson’s shot needed a spectacular save, and Minton provided one as he fell to his left and managed to get his fingers on the ball just enough to deflect it inches wide. The ensuing corner was cleared by the Blue Star defense. Minton finished the night with three saves.
Near the end of the match the Seals got a similar save from keeper Benton, as he preserved the tie with an outstretched foot as he dove. Benton finished the night with five saves.
The Seals currently have earned 4 points in U.S. Open Cup play. The San Jose Frogs lead the bid for a berth with 10 points, and the Los Angeles Legends (formally knows as the LA Storm) are in second place with 7 points. The Legends have one more qualifier to play, and will need to win decisively against the San Fernando Valley Quakes as they will need to win on goal differential to take the berth outright.
The fans gave the Seals a great reception at the end of Saturday’s match, as they appreciated the full 90 minute effort. The game for them was a great event. Half time music from the Agent Deadlies was fully enjoyed by everyone, the kids enjoyed getting autographs and talking with the players after the game, and everyone seemed hungry as the food line never seemed to dwindle all evening!
Never-the-less, the Seals kept up their tradition of offering food to the visiting team at the end of the match, and one of our fans went out the game with a $50 gift certificate for food and drink from our latest sponsor, the Pig & Whistle Restaurant and Bar, who are providing a $50 gift certificate this season for every home game.
Next up is the Ventura County Fusion, who come to town this Saturday, May 24th at Negoesco Stadium. Game time is 8:00 pm.
Participants in the SF Cup Memorial Day weekend youth soccer tournament, their coaches, parents and families will receive a $4.00 discount with coupon or their tournament program. One coupon or tournament program will be sufficient for all members in your party.
Youth teams interested in being Ball Kids at our home games this season are encouraged to contact the Seals at 510.786.8795, for more information.
Fans are reminded to check our website schedule page for schedule changes.