Oakland Roots back on track with 3-1 win Monterey Bay FC; Johnny Rodriguez’s brace, Jeciel Cedeño thriving, a complete team performance, more

Oakland Roots got back into the win column on Saturday with a mighty 3-1 victory at Monterey Bay Union FC. Following a six-match winless run that stretched over a month, the performance was among Roots’ best of its 19 games thus far, ending the night up in 6th place of the Western Conference at 7-6-6.

It was a free-flowing and entertaining 90 minutes of action, while Roots looked like the better side for nearly the entire night. Oakland gave its support a lot to cheer about on the road with the ESPN cameras panning to The Function with each celebration.

Roots goals came in the 15th minute when Jeciel Cedeño drew a penalty kick following a nice pass into the box by Memo Diaz. In the buildup, Lindo Mfeka played a pass to Memo, who took one dribble centrally before sending a curling pass by Hugh Roberts to Cedeño breaking past the back line. Monterey GK Antony Siaha panicked to the ball before Jeciel arrived to it, but clipped his ankle for the PK.

Johnny Rodriguez stepped to the spot to slot home his first of two goals.

Oakland actually could’ve had one more earlier in the match in the 3rd minute, but Mfeka’s goal was wiped due to an offside call–marking Roots’ third canceled goal in two games.

Monterey scored its equalizer in the 29th minute on a very nice play that started with Morey Doner running down a ball on the right flank, nearly going out of bounds. He sent a pass to Chase Boone inside the area, who sent one more pass to Alex Dixon at the top of the box. He took one dribble to his right before making a nice shot to the top-right bin while falling backwards.

But Roots took just four minutes to regain the lead on an absolutely terrific shot by Rodriguez. It started with Emrah Klimenta playing a longball to Cedeño at the midfield line. The Ecuadorian took the pass off of his chest, putting Roberts in a poor position to defend Jeciel and Rodriguez on the right side.

From there, Cedeño spotted Hughes cheating towards him and toed a pass through to Johnny charging into the area. Rodriguez let both Roberts and Walmer Martinez run by him, following through with a right-footed shot as the ball laid up for him. With Siaha at the left post, Johnny bent it over Siaha’s leap to the far side into the net.

Monterey ended the first half with a poor attempt by Christian Volesky on a clear shooting opportunity inside Roots’ penalty area, but he didn’t make Paul Blanchette work for the save and put his attempt directly at him for the easy save.

Union’s inability to finish came back to bite them in the 63rd minute when Dixon had a chance just a few feet in front of the net Blanchette redirected a shot on target to him after making a diving save. It really should’ve been 2-2 at that point.

Oakland then killed the game in the 78th minute with a beautifully worked goal by Diaz. The play began with Rodriguez making a great turn around midfield to spring Bryan Tamacas out wide. Tamacas then played a short pass to Cedeño, who patiently waited for Danny Gomez to come free at the top of the area. Gomez instinctively sent a perfect pass over the last defender in the area, allowing Memo to patiently walk up on the ball to send in a low rocket.

Diaz then broke out his backflip celebration which we haven’t seen since 2021 when he scored against Los Angeles in the second game of the season. It led to one of the best photos in team history.

Here are our Roots talking points.

Credit: Oakland Roots SC

Johnny Rodriguez greatness

What a performance by Johnny Rodriguez, one of our two RootsBlog Man of the Match recipients. Can he be Roots’ fulltime answer at striker? Johnny’s goal marked his seventh goal of the USL Championship season and eighth goal when accounting his score against El Farolito in the U.S. Open Cup.

It wasn’t just Johnny’s ability to score that was impressive, but his ability to make plays in possession and spring other players–like how he found Tamacas for the third goal. If Roots are going to contend for a home playoff spot, they’ll need Rodriguez to continue being the breakout star of the offense.

He finished with a 9.0 FotMob rating, completing 88 percent of his passes, four recoveries, won four ground duels, and drew four fouls.

Jeciel Cedeño coming into his own at RW

 Jeciel Cedeno was our second Man of the Match nominee after drawing the penalty kick, assisting Johnny on the second goal, and having the hockey assist on the third goal with his pass to Danny Gomez. But, above all, the second straight start at right wing for Cedeno showed the potential he has in the role.

With a goal and an assist in an Oakland Roots uniform, Jeciel already has half of Edgardo Rito’s two goal and two assists contributions from his time in Oakland this season.

He looks like a natural at right wing with footwork to weave by defenders, passing that looks better than his predecessor, and a willingness to shoot. The 23-year-old is looking like a great get by technical director Jordan Ferrell.

Full team performance

This was one of Oakland Roots’ best displays by its entire team. It felt only fair to name two recipients for Man of the Match, but the performance was a result from contributions from everyone on the field for Roots.

The entire back line had a great game, including Emrah Klimenta appearing again at right center back. Oakland wouldn’t have gotten its second goal without his long pass to Cedeno.

Memo, meanwhile, was outstanding in all facets. He was a catalyst in moving the ball transition, had an inch-perfect pass to Cedeno for his penalty, and put away the third goal with patience and intelligence. Moreover, Lindo looked great in his left wing and central attacking role. Gomez’s effort in the midfield showed the potential he brings, sending the assist for Memo’s goal.

Roots away-days are replicated by few

The Function was in force last night with at least 200 supporters making the trek. From the opening whistle, the away fans were loud and boisterous. The broadcast through praise to Oakland’s support: “Rivalries are made when fans travel, there’s about 200 Oakland fans here tonight & they’re not quiet about it.”

Two to make it true!

Now Oakland travels to El Paso to face one of the strongest teams currently in the Western Conference, facing off with short-term former Roots’ GK Benny Diaz. Locomotive is currently 9-5-5 in 4th place and, for a while, was looking like one of the best teams in the league.

However, El Paso will head into the match on a five-match winless run and haven’t claimed three points since June 14’s 2-1 win over lowly Las Vegas. Since then, El Paso drew 1-1 with Tampa, lost 0-1 to New Mexico, tied 0-0 with Monterey, lost 2-1 to San Antonio, and most recently drew 1-1 with RGV Toros.

Oakland is coming off one of its best performance, can they put two good results together?

FotMob Player Ratings

  1. Johnny Rodriguez, 9.0

2. Jeciel Cedeno, 8.8

3. Memo Diaz, 7.9

4. Danny Gomez, 7.8

5. Emrah Klimenta, 7.6

6. Danny Barbir, 7.6

7. Bryan Tamacas, 7.4

8. Joseph Nane, 7.0

9. Lindo Mfeka, 7.0

10. Paul Blanchette, 6.9

One thought on “Oakland Roots back on track with 3-1 win Monterey Bay FC; Johnny Rodriguez’s brace, Jeciel Cedeño thriving, a complete team performance, more

  1. I agree Jonny was sensational but the third goal was created by Gomez with a sweet dinky chip unto Memo’s path that he slotted back post which of course led to the aerial (front flip?) followed by the backflip
    The chemistry between Cedano and Tamacas was inspiring.

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