PEORIA, Ariz. (Saturday, April 19, 2014) – Jonathan Top finished a ball headed down in front of the goal in the 85th minute, which proved to be the winning goal in Arizona United SC’s 2-1 win over the Sacramento Republic FC on Saturday night at the Peoria Sports Complex.
It was Arizona United SC’s first win as a franchise in the club’s second-ever match, and came with Sacramento playing with 10 men after a red card to defender Mickey Daly just before halftime.
Top and his teammates celebrated by running behind the net to whoop it up with members of La Furia Roja, the club’s supporters group.
“I was at the right place at the right time,” Top said. “Last week was upsetting for us and the goal was late and I was hoping we would be able to hold the result. So I wanted to go over and celebrate with the fans.”
Arizona United SC couldn’t do a lot with a man advantage for much of the second half, but it secured its first three points after absorbing a 4-0 defeat to Oklahoma City Energy FC last week on its home pitch.
Arizona United SC trailed 1-0 with Sacramento having taken the first six shots on the match, the visitors’ lead courtesy of a goal from midfielder Rodrigo Lopez in the 27th minute.
But Arizona United SC’s attack got going late in the half, and after Top just missed high with long-distance shot in the 36th minute, captain Matt Kassel delivered a cross from the right all the way left to forward Brandon Swartzendruber, who had time to settle the ball and shoot.
The ball got by Sacramento goalkeeper Dominik Jakubek in the 38th minute to tie the score, and ensured that Swartzendruber will be the answer to the trivia question as to who scored Arizona United SC’s first goal in franchise history.
“We had a lot to prove tonight,” Swartzendruber said. “It was a little sloppy for a bit but I think once we got a little confidence under ourselves, we started trusting each and playing balls forward and we did a lot better.”
Daly drew his second yellow card, and thereby received a red, in the 44th minute after a foul in the box. Kassel took the penalty, but Jakubek stopped the shot.
Arizona United SC had the entire second half with a man advantage and attacked early, but Sacramento began to get chances as the half wore on. Arizona goalkeeper Evan Newton made two key saves in the 69th and 78th minutes, both by Thomas Stewart.
“It was just one of those games that I feel we threw it away,” Sacramento head coach Preki said. “I thought we were the better team. We created most of the chances. Even when we were a man down we had three or four good chances to score. That’s football. Sometimes you don’t get what you deserve.”
In the 85th minute, a pass into the box from Kassel found the head of forward Kadeem Dacres, who headed the ball down for Top to put away.
Dacres, a second-half substitute, was making his professional debut.
“It’s a special night,” United head coach Michael Dellorusso said, calling the win a confidence booster. “At the end of the day though, it’s another step for us. It’s a process. We’re going through it. Obviously it’s a positive. Got better from last week and we’ll take it from here.”