DUBLIN — Midway through the first half, the undermanned San Francisco Glens were staring at a two-goal deficit and likely elimination from the Copa NorCal group stage at the hands of Oakland-based Santa Elena CF.
But the plucky men in Green and White refused to panic, and by Saturday night's end, they answered the challenge with a quintet of goals in a 5-2 victory at Fallon Sports Park.
"They had a strong team, but we felt if we could continue to get behind their back line and play more direct, we would be able to get back in the game," said midfielder Yohannes Harish, who scored a brace despite having to play out of position at winger.
The comeback started with a Ranier Plantinos finish in the box to cut the Santa Elena deficit in half before intermission. Nine minutes into the second frame, Diego Lopez knifed through multiple defenders to draw the Glens even.
Then the floodgates opened.
Within a 10-minute span, Brendan Adame headed home a free kick to give San Francisco the lead, and then Harish found the back of the net twice on two Glens counter-attacks.
By the 80th minute, the Green and White had not only captured a 5-2 lead that would hold through the final whistle, but a commanding advantage that will undoubtedly help them in the table.
The Glens conclude group stage play next Saturday at Fallon Sports Park when they take on CD Aguiluchos USA at 6 p.m. A win will assure the team advances to the Copa NorCal quarterfinals. Admission is free.
NOTES: Two SF Glens Evolution youth players, holding midfielder Taye Martins and winger Pete Lesperance, featured in the starting lineup...Another SFGE product, Wesley Matcovich, came off the bench. Lesperance was making his first-team debut and almost scored in the first half...In addition to SFGE youth players, there was a heavy presence of SFGE coaches in the lineup as well. Benkay Kajihara and Pat Balderramos, were pressed into action on the back line. The pair more than held their own, teaming with Matt Albert and Tariq Pulskamp in shutting out the Santa Elena attack the last 60 minutes of the match...One area of improvement for next week will be taking penalty kicks. Plantinos and Lopez scored for the Glens but also missed once each from the spot.
COPA NORCAL GROUP A
1. Contra Costa FC | 2W-0D-0L | 17 GF, 0 GA | +17
2. SF Glens SC | 1W-0D-1L | 5 GF, 5 GA | 0*
3. Santa Elena CF | 1W-0D-1L | 6 GF, 5 GA | +1
4. CD Aguiluchos USA | 0W-0D-2L | 0 GF, 18 GA | -18
*tiebreaker is head-to-head
About San Francisco Glens SC
Originally founded in 1961 by the Irish-American community, the Glens have been a mainstay of the San Francisco soccer landscape for decades, winning numerous amateur titles in the historic San Francisco Soccer Football League and competing for national titles throughout the ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s.
The addition of the San Francisco Glens’ USL League Two team in 2018 to the top of the club’s pyramid is the latest evidence of the club’s growth on their path to the professional ranks. Along with the Glens’ youth club, SF Glens Evolution—a U.S. Soccer Development Academy member—the Glens are the largest soccer club in San Francisco, providing all levels of competition to over 70 teams and 1,300 youth and adult soccer players.
About USL League Two
A part of the United Soccer League family which also operates the USL Championship, USL League One, and Super Y-League, USL League Two has served as the proven stepping-stone for aspiring professionals.
Over 70 percent of all MLS SuperDraft selections since 2010 have USL League Two experience, including a total of 66 alums chosen in 2018. Among the many players to have played in USL League Two before making their professional debuts include Newcastle United FC defender DeAndre Yedlin, 2017 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Tim Melia, 2017 MLS Defender of the Year Ike Opara, 2018 MLS Rookie of the Year Corey Baird, and U.S. Men’s National Team members such as Darlington Nagbe, Brad Guzan, Geoff Cameron, Josh Sargent, and the Bay Area’s own Nick Lima.