Oakland Roots host their first match of the 2022 campaign when USL debutante Monterey Bay Football Club comes to Laney College at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 26, 2022. The game will be on ESPN+, but just come to the game. The team says it’s looking like it will sell out, so buy tickets if you have not already, but realistically if you read this blog and live in the Bay, you probably are already planning to be there.
Monterey Bay F.C. are brand new this season, although they are a continuation of the Fresno F.C. that played in the USL 2018 and 2019 seasons. In 2018, the Fresno team finished 12th of 17 teams in the Western Conference, somehow tied for the 7th best goal differential in the conference. In 2019, the team managed to finish third in the USL Western Conference before falling 2-3 to El Paso in the Western Conference semifinals. Looking through the roster, I don’t recognize any names except Elijah Martin, who was a mainstay in the 2019 team at CB/DM. Martin played a lot of minutes for San Diego in 2021, and has yet to miss a minute for San Diego this season.
I am thrilled to tell you that the Ray Beshoff, the owner of MBFC, owns a network of car dealerships in San Jose and Fresno.
In 2018 and 2019, Frank Yallop was general manager of Fresno, and he has returned to the franchise in Monterey Bay as manager. Yallop will be familiar to any San Jose Quakes fans, but for the rest of us, Yallop managed San Jose to their first MLS cup in a stint from 2001-2003, and then to a Supporters’ Shield in a stint from 2008-2013. Yallop is listed on Wikipedia as having 389 appearances for Ipswich Town as a defender, during which time they bounced between the first and second division of the English league.
Oh god, yes. What, exactly, makes this “union of land and sea, people and place,” the greatest one? The closest union of people, land, and sea is, obviously, being swallowed by the sea in a massive earthquake. When they say that their “rich soils” implanted them to stay and feed the world, are they choosing to take credit/blame for Gilroy? I don’t hate the “representation of land” on the badge but just be honest–the land in Monterey is good because it’s next to the water, don’t over-complicate this.
It is further unclear what “traditional in shape but modern in design” means. I assume that they mean that a Knight Templar would find the shield functional, but would feel like a dweeb for using it.
I’ve cut this from the image, but the colors on the right are labeled “kelp blue.” We have all been to the beach, maybe even in Monterey. Kelp is poop brown and you’re confusing it with the color of the water.
Monterey Bay is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been, but it feels like this crest is them trying to be something they’re not. I suggest a crest that focuses on their strengths:
Monterey Bay’s Form
Monterey Bay are off to a rough start to the season. They started with a 4-2 loss at Wild Horse Pass to Phoenix Rising, which seems like a serviceable result, but it was 4-0 before the clock hit 40 minutes, and Union did not score their first until the 78th and their second in the 87th minutes, so you can probably chalk those up to defensive indifference.
I did not watch MB’s 1-0 loss against Switchbacks, but I’m told that it was completely one-sided. As you can see in the highlights, MB had a great opportunity to take the lead early, and ultimately the goal they conceded was pretty well worked by Haji Barry to beat Kai Greene and set up Elvis Amoh. The stats show Colorado Springs with nine shots, five on target, and Union with four shots, one on target.
The Roots took another tough loss on the road to Memphis 901.
The highlights don’t show the great opportunity Karlsson had in the 5th minute. After that, the Roots really did not look great again until the last 15 or so. 901’s goals were good, but you also can’t say they didn’t earn them, having looked the better side for about 70 straight minutes. The first is a wonderful free kick from Aaron Molloy, and the way to stop that is to not give up the foul right outside your own box. Once you have, you just have to hope. On the second, Seagrist absolutely skins Rito to get clear a clear header that Bailey doesn’t have a chance to stop. Rito cannot get beat like that, but the pass is still dead-on balls accurate.
Formella pulled one back in the 81st, and the goal was one of the two kinds of goals that I found Formella scores when I did my closer look when the Roots signed him: weird scrambles in the box. The other kind is mid-range shots while on loping, angled runs into the box. If you’re left asking “what does that leave?” what I mean is that he scores few, if any, headers or ranged goals when not in stride.
Unfortunately the Roots could not do much else, and fell to 0-0-2 on the season.
Players to Watch
Frankly, hard to say right now. Union have two goal scorers, Seku Conneh (#9) and Adrian Rebollar (#7), and neither has more than 92 minutes over the two full games that Union have played.
Only four defenders have featured for Monterey Bay, so we should probably expect to see the same four run out again. Our beloved Kai Greene pairs in the center with captain Hugh Roberts (#2), and Canadian Morey Doner (#3) on the right and American Grant Robinson (#12) on the left.
The only other player to play the full 180 so far for Union is Arun Basuljevic (#17) who came up in the Red Bulls academy, played in Fresno’s last season, then two years with OKC Energy, and then made his way back to the franchise. Basuljevic played collegiate ball at Georgetown, a school that no one is obligated to respect.
Score and Lineup Predictions
I have not had any luck predicting wins, so I’m going to shift strategies and predict a draw. Roots’ offense started slower than I expected, but looked better at the end of the Memphis match. Now they are going to be at home, against a team that doesn’t have its act together yet. They are going to score goals. But, because good things don’t happen, Union will get a couple on perfectly executed plays that are completely against the run of play. Dennis man of the match.
Picking the back line and midfield has some interesting factors to consider. Lindo Mfeka had a productive appearance last week, and it will be interesting to see if Roots opt for an aggressive lineup with Lindo, Charlie Dennis, and Jose Hernandez. With Jose featuring in a deeper role in the season-opener, my guess is Oakland packs the midfield with attacking options. As for the backline, it’s hard to see Akeem O’Connor-Ward out of the lineup, but a source told the blog that he could be unavailable on Saturday. My guess is Edgardo Rito plays RB and Memo Diaz returns to LB, while Emrah Klimenta and Danny Barbir make up the centerback pairing. I could also see Barbir sliding to LB and a decision between Emrah, Alejandro Fuenmayor and Tarek Morad at CB. As for the keeper spot, Benny Diaz makes his Roots debut.
My score prediction; I said on the pod that Roots would win 2-1, and I’ll do you one better—2-nil Root. If Oakland can continue the offensive progress shown in the second half of last Saturday at Memphis, this could be the situation to find answers and put it all together.