Rams Down Delta, March Toward State Semifinals


Photo by: Ben Hensley

Mason Gonzalez celebrates with his fellow teammates after scoring the lone goal for the Rams during their 1-0 win over the San Joaquin Delta Mustangs on Saturday, Nov. 30. The goal propelled the Rams to the semifinals round for the 2019 CCCAA State Championship.

The group of footballers stood together on the pitch with their arms up to the sky, embracing the showering rain and champagne.

 The Fresno City College men’s soccer team celebrated their 1-0 victory over San Joaquin Delta College on Saturday, Nov. 30, advancing them to the CCCAA State Championship Semifinals.

The two teams had met once before in the regular season, a match on Oct. 18 that ended in a 2-2 tie; so the Saturday rematch was a battle to see which team was most deserving to move on to the next round of playoffs.

FCC entered play to the sound of fans beating drums and shouting chants of  “FCC” and “Let’s go Rams”. The Fresno played into their energy too much at the start of the match, with a couple of missed passes and suspect decisions. While the Rams arguably came out of the gate too energized, the Mustangs played with a sluggish, centered approach.

This approach allowed them to clog the middle of the field and snuff out the Rams’ scoring opportunities. They denied FCC’s efforts on corner kicks all game long and closed their scoring windows, drawing missed shots from the Rams.

But at 45:00, just seconds left before halftime, sophomore midfielder Eduardo Segura pushed the ball downfield and crossed the pitch with a pass to sophomore forward Mason Gonzalez, who sent the ball into the back of the net for the game’s only goal. 

That FCC tandem has been a driving force for the Rams all season, leading the charge with impressive performance and chemistry. 

“We like to think that we’re the leaders,” said Gonzalez. “We don’t talk that much, but we’re the type of players that if he puts the ball there, I’m going to be there. If I put the ball there, he’s going to be there.”

Going into the second half, the Rams maintained their efforts on both ends of the ball. Solid control and an adjusted outside-in approach presented more scoring opportunities for FCC, but they were again diffused by a stalwart Delta defense.

Most of the match was a battle between these two different styles of play: FCC’s adaptable offense and precise defense against Delta’s all-around slow, conservative game.

“It was an interesting game because they never really came at us,” said head coach Eric Solberg. “They really started pressing at the end.” 

After a Mustangs’ player came off the field with an injury in the second half, Delta started their surge back into the game. They stole passes from the Rams’ offense and made several unprecedented pushes toward the goal, even missing a game-tying goal by just a foot to the right.

But the Mustangs’ efforts were too late and their season was ended by the Rams in 90 minutes.

“We’ve been one of the best teams all year in the North. We deserved what we got today. I really believe that,” said Solberg. “I thought we played pretty smart, but at the end of the day it’s just about moving forward.”

And at the end of the day, it was the FCC Rams marching off their home pitch cloaked in black and red smoke and into the CCCAA State Championship Semifinals. 

On Friday, Dec. 6, the Rams will head to De Anza College to play Cerritos College (18-2-4) at 2 p.m.