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SF City uses free kick from injured midfielder to spark win over FC Golden State

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San Francisco City FC celebrates after Danny Kirkland scored on a free kick in the 43rd minute of a win over FC Golden State on Sunday. (Courtesy SF City FC)
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San Francisco City FC midfielder Danny Kirkland broke his hand in a collision with another player during the team’s June 18 win over Orange County SC U23.

The injury forced him to wear a large white cast on his right hand that extended near his elbow, but it didn’t keep him out of action Sunday against FC Golden State.

Kirkland’s first-half free kick assist sparked SF City’s 2-1 victory over the Force, who entered as the first-place team in the PDL Southwest Division.

“It didn’t [affect me],” Kirkland said. “You try not to think too much about it. You want to make sure you’re concentrated on the game and the task at hand.”

After Golden State controlled possession in the opening 10 minutes, SF City created the first open scoring opportunity. Forward Gerardo Mendoza burst into the box to head a cross from the right wing, but his effort flew over the bar.

SF City continued to lob crosses into the area from deep positions but struggled to locate targets, often floating balls into the grasp of Golden State goalkeeper Jose Miranda. Coach Paddy Coyle attributed the passing struggles to a cross-field wind.

But in the 43rd minute, Kirkland drove a low free kick into the box from right wing, finding forward Bryce Kaminski for a close range tap-in. After the finish, the team ran to celebrate on the sideline with a group of flag-waving supporters.

“I don’t know what kind of player I’d be if I said I wasn’t going for the goal,” Kirkland said with a laugh. “But I’m glad [Kaminski] pushed it in. My main aim to make sure something is going on target … and giving the forwards the opportunity to get in there.”

SF City doubled its advantage in the 54th minute. Defender Manny Padilla performed a give-and-go with midfielder Davi Ramos at the top of the box, with Ramos assisting Padilla’s volley using a soft chested pass.

Though the game opened up on the counter attack for SF City following its second conversion, the squad couldn’t add to its tally.

Golden State substitute forward Pedro Fanseca cut inside and placed a swerving shot into the top-right corner of the goal in the 69th minute, trimming SF City’s lead to 2-1.

That set up an uncertain final 10 minutes that included a number of loose balls in front of SF City’s net. Ultimately, though, the team held on for its third straight win.

“It was tough,” defender Ben Brewster said. “They were getting a lot of free kicks around our area, putting a lot of balls into our box. … I think we did a nice job of staying tight to our men.”

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