On Sunday, Toros Neza USA topped Footballers Academy 2-1 in UPSL Division 1 play.
The familiar teams from the Inland Empire region of Southern California face off again in match-week 2 in the SoCal East division. Last season FADP got both wins in those encounters versus the bulls. In the previous season, Toros fell to FADP 2-1 on both occasions. In their last matchup, Toros Neza USA topped newcomers CDC Dominguez 4-3, while FADP also defeated newcomers Valley Lions 4-1, giving FADP a slight edge in goal difference over Toros.
Both teams were set to kick off on a beautiful and breezy afternoon at Bobby Bonds Park in Riverside, Ca. One notable factor about the field is the new turf and painted lines, which, compared to 2019, made the game more enjoyable as, before the new turf, the field looked unpleasant with holes everywhere.
Nonetheless, the game kicked off, and the hosts looked to be favorites to win. They build their play from the back to the midfielder #10, who distributes the ball to the left or right for wingers to receive the lob pass. They were also more verbal and aggressive tackling for the ball. While FADP was more reactionary and passive, allowing Toros to build up their play without much pressure. This weakness led to the first Toros goal. They made a shot from outside the box that deflected off a defender, making the ball go up in the air. Then a toros teammate heads the ball towards the left side of the net. Seven minutes later, the hosts get a second goal from a shot inside the box from a throw-in. The shot again deflects off a FADP defender, and the loose ball finds a Toros teammate that beats the keeper at his left post.
FADP tried to build up their strategy in response to being down, but the passes didn’t complete due to the Toros pressuring them on the reception of a pass or intercepting them. Towards the end of the first half, the visitors nearly get a goal. A forward gets an opportunity 1v1 against the Toros keeper on the right side of the box, but a Toros defender comes from behind to nit-pick the ball before the forward could pull the trigger. The FADP player falls, but no penalty is called to the disapproval of the FADP staff and a FADP fan who was loudly upset. He used colorful language to point out that the striker’s job is to strike the ball. The half ends 2-0 for Toros.
The second half kicked off, and not much changed from Toros Neza, keeping their successful flow of play. However, FADP gets a chance at goal from a corner kick. A high cross into the heart of the box finds a FADP winger towards the left side of the post alone, and the header nearly misses the woodwork and bounces out of play.
It was back and forth between the two teams with ball possession fought in the middle of the field, but Toros still won most of the 50/50 balls. Now the visitors are coming up with plays but are plagued with bad decisions that don’t lead to a shot at goal. However, FADP finally gets a goal from a cross into the box from just outside the semi-circle. The ball finds the winger on the right side, and the bounce helps him put it over the keeper and in the back of the net. Now, FADP starts pushing up and making runs for the attack, and Toros gets frustrated and does not connect passes as much as before.
Towards the end of the match, both teams played the counter-attack as FADP was riskier to get a tieing goal while Toros players were shouting at each other to calm down and not rush to avoid mistakes. Then, the tension ended as the referee blew his whistle, and the game ended with a 2-1 win for Toros Neza USA.
Toros moves to first place, being the only team with two wins in the SoCal East. On Sunday, their next match is against Lobos FC, who defeated Valley Lions 2-0 last week. In contrast, FADP drops to second place and will have a bye week. Their next match will be against MAFO II on the last weekend of March. MAFO II tied their previous game versus newcomers Chiriaco 3-3 and lost their season opener to Desert FC 3-1.