On Friday, Redlands FC lost in the USL 2 national round of 32 against the San Francisco Glens 2-1.
This matchup was the first time both teams faced off in competitive play. The hosts Redlands came from a 4-1 thrashing of defending national champions Ventura County Fusion to claim the southwest division. RFC was on a two-game winning streak before encountering the Glens.
For the visitors from NorCal, the Glens finished in 2nd place after defeating rival SF City 2-1 to go on a 3-game winning streak before the postseason.
The match kickoff at Larry Dodge Stadium was a slower start than usual for the home team. RFC retained possession and played out the back slowly. To Glen’s response, they were patient and conservative to RFC’s movements and kept formation. Physically RFC had the advantage of winning 1v1 battles, but their waves of attack didn’t click despite having more possession.
However, the Glens made a breakthrough in the 20′ from a play out of their third. Medina received an extended triangle pass play in the corner of the box and slotted it to the left for the boys in green to take the lead.
RFC’s reaction to the goal didn’t change the game’s tone. They lack that high intensity/high pressure on and off the ball, hardly any ping passes, and few interceptions. These traits got RFC to get to the playoffs, yet it was noticeably absent in this match.
Glens, on the other hand, were more calm but more reserved in shutting down RFC’s dump and chase plan. Their attacking strategy was resetting the turnover, sending it to a winger, and individually the winger would hold and bait till he got reinforcements.
The half ends 1-0 to the Glens.
The second half saw the home team’s intensity pick up as those lacking qualities returned to life. Then in the 56′ RFC, find hope with an SF handball in the box that gives the home team a penalty. The team goal leader Omar Yehya takes it from the spot and converts it down main street to tie the game up.
The game would spice up now that both teams were even as Glens and RFC had wave after wave of attack to try to get ahead. Around the 75′, the green team slowed down the game’s pace by passing out the back, trying to ice RFC’s moment as the home team had more chances.
That control of tempo for the Glens gave them a chance to hit off the top crossbar promptly cleared by the Redlands defense. Shortly after, RFC gets a close chance of their own with a cross into the box where Elgersma gets an awkward touch to it, but the keeper saves in front of the goal.
The last ten minutes of the game saw a dramatic turn for the worse. Foul after fouls from both teams made the match very sloppy, with some calls not being called and others not necessary.
It got worse with a scrap after a takedown in the 88′ in which both teams were pushing and shoving each other, to the referee’s dismay. That turn of events showed only RFC getting a yellow. Another claim for a foul shortly after, where a Glen defender pushed Omar to the ground on a 1v1, resulted in no stoppage of play.
One more chance for RFC deep into stoppage time with a lobbed cross for Elgersma alone in the box, but he couldn’t receive the air ball.
At 90′ +7 of stoppage time, the Glens respond with a play from the left side as Adimabua individually drives the ball into the box, taking three defenders on before he passes to Ibrahim alone in the box and slots in the winning goal.
The RFC bench players are not pleased with Glen’s celebration of the goal, and another scuffle shows one red card for each of the team’s bench players. After the order is restored and ten minutes of stoppage time, the reset saw RFC’s last chance at goal with Omar individually driving the ball up Glen’s gut, and his left-footed shot goes inches away from the left post.
Finally, the game ends with a little more player tension after the final whistle that, sees the game end 2-1 for the Glens. The San Francisco team moves on to the next round while Redland’s season comes to a bitter end.
Team co-founder Ryan Whiley shared his thoughts: “While a win on Friday would have been great, we could not be more proud of the players and coaching staff for what they accomplished this season.”
Before the season started, he predicted that as a new club, he hoped RFC would place above .500 or win more games than lose. As the season shows, the team went beyond his expectations. It was a testament to how a community came together for civic pride in a city known for its rich talent.
Even as a young team, Redlands FC has shown the league and surrounding cities how to take a calculated risk, especially doing something new for the first time, and be blown away with overwhelming success.