The San Francisco Glens are out for vengeance when the unbeaten FC Golden State Force comes to Boxer Stadium on Sunday in a pivotal USL League Two clash.
Just two weeks ago, the Glens gave the defending Western Conference champions all they could handle for 80 minutes before the Force took advantage of two glaring mistakes by a fatigued San Francisco back line to win 3-0.
This time, however, FC Golden State must travel north, which has been a house of horrors for the Whittier-based club. The usually-formidable Force are winless in their last three Bay Area road games and have scored just once in that span.
The last of that trio of contests was a 0-0 draw at Boxer in 2018, in which the Glens not only outshot the Force, but controlled the pace of the game.
“We gave them a good run here last time out,” said Glens general manager Mike McNeill. “We need to play a complete 90 minutes to do it again.”
Future MLS SuperDraft pick Shinya Kadono did everything for the Glens but put the ball in the back of the net, and Kevin Peach became the only goalkeeper to shut out the Force last year.
This time, the Glens will bring back right back Rei Dorwart and forward Ranier Plantinos, who are both threats to score and have vast knowledge navigating the same thick Boxer Stadium grass that slowed FC Golden State’s offense.
Dangerous winger Marco Iubel, who leads the 2019 Glens with three goals and had a hand in the team’s first goal last week against Santa Cruz, will again spearhead San Francisco’s attack.
The 32-year-old Brazilian is a veteran with UEFA Champions League experience from his time with Portuguese power Vitória de Guimaraes. “Marquinho” ended up with the Glens thanks to a tip from the club’s youth academy girls’ coach Jean Pierre Mujica, his former teammate at City amateur side El Farolito.
After two draws in their past two games, the issue surrounding the Glens’ slow start hasn’t been putting opponents on the back foot. San Francisco has struck first on the scoreboard and within the first five minutes in three out of the Glens’ first four contests.
Rather, the problem has been putting their rivals away. For instance, in the season opener against SF City FC, the Glens led 2-1 at Kezar Stadium and had a chance for an insurance goal, but after teenage phenom Julio Gonzalez Ponce’s deep attempt bounced off the crossbar, two defensive errors resulted in a 3-2 defeat.
On the road against Orange County SC Under-23, the Glens led 1-0 and had an opportunity for a second after Dorwart drew a penalty kick, but Iubel’s subsequent shot was saved. Ultimately, despite San Francisco dominating most of the game, the hosts salvaged a 1-1 draw when a late floater into the box deflected off a Glens defender into the twine.
The trend continued in the Glens’ home opener against the Santa Cruz Breakers last Friday, when San Francisco forward Stephen Cordova hammered home a Yohannes Harish low cross to propel them to a 1-0 advantage.
But once again, after the Glens unleashed several shots on goal — including two off the woodwork — the visitors equalized in the waning minutes to cap another disappointing 1-1 draw.
“We had plenty of chances to put [the Breakers] away, but this game can be brutal,” said head coach Javier Ayala-Hil. “They had one or two chances and capitalized. We need to go back to the drawing board to see how we can be more consistent in front of goal.”
With only 10 games left in the season, a victory over the first-place Force would catapult the Glens back into the Western Conference playoff hunt.
SF Glens vs. FC Golden State Force
WHAT: USL League Two regular season soccer game
WHEN: Today, 4 p.m.
WHERE: Boxer Stadium (166 Havelock St. near City College)
TICKETS: $10 Adults, $5 Youth
GLENS TO DEBUT ‘SAN FRANCISCAN NIGHTS’ JERSEYS NEXT THURSDAY
In a break with tradition, the Glens will don all-black kits next Thursday for their May 30 home game against the SoCal Seahorses.
The “San Francisco Nights” jerseys feature a new secondary interlocking “SF” logo, sublimated graphics, and a collar with a button-less placket. Hunter’s Point-based brewery Speakeasy Ales and Lagers will be featured on the chest.
The Glens’ green and white uniforms will continue to serve as the primary and secondary kits, with Carlsberg the presenting sponsor for both. They will wear the black uniforms a total of twice at home and twice more on the road.
All three jerseys will be on sale during remaining home games at Boxer Stadium at the pop-up team store between the $5 Beer Garden and the inflatable goal in the Fan Zone.
SFPD vs. SF FIREFIGHTERS LOCAL 798 IN FIRST RESPONDERS CUP
Before the Glens and Seahorses face off next Thursday, the San Francisco Police Department Soccer Club and the SFYI Soccer Club will take the Boxer Stadium field in the 2nd Annual SF Glens First Responders Cup.
The SFYI Soccer Club, which is sponsored by the San Francisco Firefighters Local 798, will challenge SFPD SC, the defending champions. Officer Kerry Mullins will captain SFPD, while Firefighter Will Dorsey will lead SFYI.
Pioneering San Francisco Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White, who retired earlier this month after making history as the first woman to serve in the position, has been invited to attend as the Guest of Honor.
Hayes-White will be the latest City luminary to attend a Glens game; District 11 Supervisor Ahsha Safaí was at the May 17 home opener and District 4 Supervisor Gordon Mar is tentatively confirmed for Sunday’s game vs. the Force.