SAN DIEGO, CA - Division leading FC Hasental came into San Diego and solidified their first place with an1-2 win against second place San Diego Flash. The game had plenty of controversy from the referee with ejections, penalties, and missed calls.
The battle for first place has a tight affair. It was the visiting team who seemed more dangerous during the beginning parts of the game. They put together better passing in the midfield. The Flash could not match the passing but looked through the long long aerial ball to creat danger.
After 15 minutes of play the visiting Hasental had already gone one-on-one with the Flash goalkeeper Cameron Riley; Riley responded well and kept his team from going down.
Controversy came in the 31st minute when a Hasental player tried to dribble past two Flash defenders from the right wing and into the box, the Hasental player ended up on the floor, after some consideration the referee decided to call a foul, but marked it just outside of the box. Complaints came in from most of the visiting team, and after consulting with his assistant the referee decided award a penalty kick. Gustavo Villalobos slotted the
penalty kick away to give the visitors the lead.
The home side pushed forward looking for the equalizer. Six minutes after conceding the goal the San Diego Flash would be award their own penalty kick after a Hasental defender slid tackled inside the box and touched the ball with his hand. Danny Ortega stepped up and scored the equalizer for the Flash.
After the Flash's equalizing goal things started to heat up on the filed as challenges started to get tougher and players started to face off against each other after the challenges.
The referee had to issue a yellow card to each side right on the brink of halftime after a shoving match started.
For the second half the Flash seemed more determined to push the ball forward; they had several shots on goal in the early minutes. But more controversy came in the 52nd minute. As Hasental pushed the ball forward the entire Flash team stood still expecting an offsides call that never came. Manuel Cazeres had an easy finish in front of the Flash goalkeeper.
The tension in the field remained really high, protest from both team flew at the referee on every play. Flash assistant coach David Banks was ejected from the game in the 65th minute after being warn several times not stop complaining.
More controversy came in on the 75th minute after a no-call from referee for what all Flash players and fans in the stands considered should have been a penalty kick after an apparent hand ball by a Hasental defender inside the box.
Flash kept pushing forward for the equalizing goal, but left big gaps in their defensive zone which the visitors were exploiting but not finishing. After five minutes of added time the referee blew the final whistle officially ending the Flash's unbeaten streak.
FC Hasental cements themselves to first place now with 24 points, while the Flash are left behind with 20 points. Next up for the San Diego Flash a local battle with their local rivals San Diego Boca.