In the midweek clash between Redlands FC and SoCal Seashorses, the hosts RFC collected a clean sheet in USL 2 Southwest play.
RFC was coming off their first defeat in club history on the road against defending USL 2 champs Ventura County FC but still held 2nd place in the conference.
Meanwhile, the visiting seahorse’s last three games were up and down, with an L-W-L form with that last loss to Capo FC by a score of 4-3.
The match would kick off before a lively, packed Dodge stadium in their first season encounter. Within the first few minutes, the Seahorses, intercepting RFC passes to keep possession, looked like the better side. However, their domination was shortly lived as RFC turned the tide by intercepting seahorse passes and then pushing forward.
Then RFC was given a chance at goal in the 10th minute, with Ethan Kovach winning a penalty. He shot from the spot, but the goalkeeper saved it, and the danger gets cleared.
Nevertheless, RFC would continue their game plan by disrupting SoCal’s triangle passes to transition to attacking the right wing. Staying on the right side, they would force tight passes on the corner of the box but couldn’t click to get a chance at goal.
Redemption would strike for Ethan in the 24′ when a low cross from the right side missed the striker in the middle, but Kovach was at the far corner alone to slot it in for RFC to take the lead.
Now ahead, RFC continues to dominate, holding possession and deploying offside traps to force the seashores to stay defensive as their triangle passes efforts saw no success. The rest of the half would see RFC send waves of attack without many chances at goal while the seahorses held the fort in their final third without a successful counterattack. The half ends 1-0 for RFC.
Despite subs on both sides, the second half would look the same as the first half. RFC kept possession, winning interceptions and physically winning tackles to turnover the ball.
They would get a chance in the 60′ from a shot outside the box that hits the top post and bounces downward near the goalline, but the ref says play on. Their defense had their work cut out as the midfield kept their form and pressed when SoCal tried to build up a play.
The seahorses struggled to play out the back when they had possession, but getting past the midfield took a lot of work. Their backs were against the wall for the majority of the half.
Finally, in the game’s dying minutes, RFC got a counterattack after the seahorses sent all their players past the halfway mark. The long ball forward finds Luka Lukic at the 45-yard line, sprinting with the ball, reaching the box with defenders chasing him. Lukic gets one-on-one with the keeper and finishes it between his legs to seal the 2-0 win for the home side.
Redlands record their fourth win and are now with 14 points, trailing behind 1st place Ventura County Fusion by one point. They host last-place Capo FC on Saturday night.
The Seahorses get their fourth loss of the season with only 7 points. Their next match is on the road against Ventura County Fusion next Tuesday.