The North County Battalion’s inaugural season home opener got off to a successful start as the Battalion (2-0-0) offense outscored FC Hasental (0-1-1) 4-2. An extremely loud and electric home crowd waited out the early rain to see the home team shower four goals into the Hasental net.
The Battalion dominated the pace of play in the first half which led to numerous goal-scoring opportunities. They finally broke through in the 27th minute when a header towards goal by Duach Jock found Eric Lopez in front of the goal for the first score of the game.
After the goal the Battalion kept pressing the Hasental defense creating chance after chance, including two golden opportunities in which the Battalion couldn’t get their feet on balls in the box. In the 37th minute the Battalion doubled their lead when Esteban Reyes made a beautiful run down the left side of the goal box and lifted a pass to the center of the box that Brandon Zuniga headed to the back of the net.
At the half the Battalion led 2-0.
The action in the second half was fast and furious. In the 47th minute Battalion goalkeeper Drew Tepping came up huge, saving a point blank shot to keep the shutout intact. A minute later, however, Alberto Anguiano broke the shutout when he scored with his back to the goal on a shot that went over Tepping to cut the Battalion lead to one.
The Battalion extended their lead back to two just five minutes later when Lopez slotted home a shot into the net on a well played through ball by Zuniga. Lopez’s second goal of the game would prove to be the game winner.
Hasental, however would not go away easily and in the 59th minute Jonathan Ramirez scored on a centering pass from Joel Contreras. Contreras outran the Battalion defense and sent a cross that was out of Tepping’s reach that Ramirez tapped in.
With the game still in doubt, player-coach Ryan Guy blasted a missile of a shot for goal from 40 yards out in the 78th minute that found the top corner, right under the crossbar. Guy’s goal gave the Battalion the breathing room they needed to take control of the match and secure a victory.
Today’s game was a hard-fought match that led to a total of 30 combined fouls. FC Hasental’s game was to play physical, which led to them picking up three yellow cards (Martinez 14’, Reinaldo Rodrigues 52’, and Cameron Artigliere 70’) to the Battalion’s one (Reyes 55’).
Lopez was named the Man of the Match after tallying two goals on four shots.
The Battalion host crosstown rival Albion Pro SC on Saturday, April 16 at 7 pm. First place and an unblemished record will be on the line next week. Tickets for the game are $10 for adults, kids 11-18 are $6, and children 10 and under are free. Check our Facebook page for additional specials.