WHAT A WIN! Roots look to keep that win train rolling on Saturday, June 4 with a trip on down to Seaside, California for the first away fixture in this new Northern California derby. Monterey Bay play at Cardinale Stadium in Seaside, and the traveling fans will be sitting in N1 if you are trying to make that trip yourselves.
The match will also be broadcast on ESPN+ and KTVU+.
I had high hopes for going but my stupid childhood friend had to get stupid married in stupid New Orleans this weekend, so I’m taking a redeye at like Midnight from SFO. For similar reasons, this is going to be a short one.
|3/26||God’s Own Oakland Roots||Away||W||3||2|
I don’t even know what to tell you about this team. They were 1-0-6 until May and are 3-0-1 since then including knocking off the first place teams in each conference by convincing margins.
In their only away game since opening Cardinale Stadium on May 7, traveled to Louisville and handed City only their second loss.
It took nearly an hour for anything of note to happen. Monterey took the lead on a long corner that Mobi Fehr managed to get across the line by muscling Brian Ownby away from him. Monterey doubled their lead a quarter of an hour later when Sam Gleadle made a brilliant run forward to intercept a long pass, ran most of the length of the field, played Christian Volesky outside left of the box, and then fielded the return ball and put away from a tight angle. Pretty great stuff. Louisville has only conceded 11 times in 13 games, and two were to this Monterey Bay team in Louisville.
This past weekend, MBFC hosted Colorado Springs Switchbacks in Seaside, and beat them soundly.
It again took ages for anything to happen, and again Monterey Bay took the lead on a set piece. Switchbacks’ keeper parried the freekick away in a high arc that some guy lofted to Chase Boone who in turn lofted the ball towards the un-keepered back post where Hugh Roberts headed it in from about three inches out. We are going to talk in my prediction about the worrying combination of MBFC set piece goals and the Roots’ hapless set piece defending, but this one might actually be too silly to be a part of that trend. Again MBFC doubled their lead through a combination of crisp passing in the box between Volesky and Gleadle, with Gleadle putting a tidy finish away under pressure. Hadji Barry answered three minutes later on a classic Hadji Barry galivanting solo run and finish. In the 73rd the Switchbacks’ defense fell asleep and played a pass across the middle directly to Adrian Rebollar who took three touches and then beat the keeper <sigh> from outside the box to the keeper’s near post. Somehow both teams scored in stoppage time, but MBFC got theirs first through a tight angle shot from Chase Boone when I think the defense thought the ball had gone out of play. Thus there was little more than consolation in Switchbacks’ second off a free kick in the 97th.
|3/26||Monterey Bay Union Football Club of Seaside, California||Home||L||2||3|
|3/30||New Mexico United||Away||D||2||2|
|4/02||Tampa Bay Rowdies||Home||D||0||0|
|4/13||January 6 Apologists SC||Home||D||2||2|
|4/30||Colorado Springs Troop Appreciators||Home||L||0||3|
|5/14||AFC Pure Uncut Nevada Chaos||Away||D||1||1|
|5/21||Galaxia de Carson, Two||Home||W||1||0|
|5/28||Central Valley Republic||Home||D||1||1|
I cannot even count how many times I have watched these highlights.
The opener is the kind of dumb free pinball stuff that the Roots have been on the wrong end of so many times this season. Morad caught a straight-up Sagat Muay Thai elbow to the face from Torres that should have been a red.
Of course it was then Torres who took the (probably deserved) penalty in the 32nd to equalize. Also of course Orange County would take the lead in the 65th on a set piece when the preposterously named Albi Skendi ran totally unmarked into the 6-yard box. This is pretty close to the worst I have felt at a Roots game this season. You all know how this one ended, but just so it doesn’t go unremarked upon, in the 93rd Mfeka got the ball on the right, then slalomed his way centrally to right outside the OC D and sent the ball left to Formella, who drew the double cover leaving Azocar completely unmarked.
Azocar still had a lot to do, though, and beat the keeper with an unsaveable curling effort to the back post. It took something like 50 seconds from the goal being given for play to resume, now at 93:27 (four minutes had been given for stoppage time). The ball was played long to Karlsson who volleyed it back to Mfeka. Mfeka pinged it back to Karlsson who was immediately fouled, setting up a free kick that he would not be denied taking himself.
Honest to god I almost cried. What can you even say about that? The goal is perfection. Karlsson double-digit goals on the season, to become the Roots all-time leading goal scorer. Roots’ first victory over Orange County. Roots going from 0-1-1 against OC this season to 1-1-0 on two stoppage time free kicks from Karlsson. It’s all pure magic. It’s why we watch the game.
Players to Watch
I punted on my “players to watch” the first time around, as Monterey had only played two matches. I guess I can’t really do that now. On the other hand, a Monterey player has now made the player hater list, so we better talk about him!
Chase Boone #31 – Boone plays on the left wing for Monterey Bay and leads the team with four goals. The 26-year-old native of Beaverton, Oregon played college ball in Redlands, California, before joining the Portland Timbers academy (where Max was playing at the time, although on a different developmental squad). Boone played the 2019-21 seasons in Denmark, before playing last season (but mostly riding the bench) for San Diego Loyal. Boone is tall for a winger, listed at 6’2″.
Hugh Roberts #2 – Somehow the second-highest goal scorer for MBFC is the captain and center back Roberts. Actually, not really “somehow,” the answer is that they score on set pieces. Roberts is 29 and followed a collegiate career at George Mason (now home to the Antonin Scalia School of Law), by bouncing around out east, featuring for the Baltimore Bohemians, Richmond Kickers, Bethlehem Steel, Pittsburgh Riverhounds, and Charlotte Independence before making his way to Monterey.
Sam Gleadle #23 – As far as I can tell from my exhaustive research, Gleadle typically plays as a right mid or right winger opposite Chase Boone, although this is completely inconsistent with one of the highlights I watched (exhaustive!) Gleadle is fast as hell (based on that highlight). More importantly, he is from Chichester, West Sussex, which is where Alex Horne is from.
Kai Greene #30 – Greene is the second-highest rated player for MBFC on Fotmob after only Chase Boone.
Lineup and Score Predictions
This team has the tools to keep winning games, it just needs to do it. I don’t like our set piece match-up against Monterey, and it’s worrying that they’re defense has been getting better. But that was a big emotional win for the Roots and I am counting on them keeping it going. 3-2 Roots again.
Similar to Saturday, my guess is there will be some squad rotation. Darek Formella got a full 90 minutes against Orange County, so I have Lindo Mfeka in his spot and Charlie Dennis in the lineup after being out the previous game. With a Joseph Nane spotting on Instagram, I think he fills into Matias Fissore’s spot and Mikael Johnsen allows Jose Hernandez to get some rest. Emrah Klimenta and Danny Barbir were also seen in the IG post, so I’m thinking Emrah plays central and Alejandro Fuenmayor returns on the right side with Barbir opposite. Juan Carlos Azocar, meanwhile, hasn’t missed a match, so I think he’s ready to go and the same with Edgardo Rito. A multigoal victory would put Oakland into the positive for goal differential, which would be huge going into next week’s match against RGV. So, I’m predicting just that for the score, 3-1 Roots.
Who’s asking? If it’s Officers Gibbs or Franklin of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, then we haven’t heard from Aaron in weeks and you will need to contact his attorney. If any non-federal animal-related law enforcement are asking, then I followed a series of encrypted messages that I found on the back of cocktail napkins to a secure location in Redwood Regional Park, where someone (we can only assume who), sent me the following message across the valley using a mirror to send flashes of light in morse code: