LIVERMORE, Calif. – Lindo Mfeka had two goals and one assist and Wal Fall also found the net as Oakland Roots SC took a 3-1 victory against Tacoma Defiance on Wednesday night at Las Positas College, extending Oakland’s home undefeated streak to six games while moving the side within three points of fourth-placed Tacoma in the USL Championship’s Pacific Division standings.
Looking to close the gap to the playoff positions, Oakland made an ideal start as tackle by Fall in the attacking third put the Tacoma defense under pressure that saw an attempt to clear carom off Johnny Rodriguez and fall kindly for Mfeka to shoot into the left corner of the net. Neither side created much in the way of opportunities following that opening goal until past the half-hour mark, when with its first good chance Tacoma leveled as Ethan Dobbelaere earned possession in midfield and quickly found Danny Robles. The midfielder played the ball wide to Ray Serrano, who beat his defender one-on-one and then roofed home a shot from the right side of the penalty area into the top-right corner of the net for the equalizer.
The goal seemed to lift the visitors, and both Samuel Adeniran and Marlon Vargas had speculative shots from outside the penalty area soon after Serrano’s finish, but five minutes before halftime Roots SC regained the lead as Mfeka played a pass from the right side of the penalty area to Fall at the top of the box where the midfielder controlled and then lashed home a half-volley that hit the underside of the crossbar and found the net.
Mfeka’s big night continued eight minutes into the second half as he struck again as Fall’s pass forward deflected off a defender and into the South African’s path as he cut into the left side of the penalty area. Mfeka beat his marker to the ball and delivered a first-time left-footed shot that snuck in at the near post to give Oakland a two-goal advantage.
Roots SC had a chance to add a fourth – and Mfeka complete his hat trick – with 19 minutes to go as Memo Diaz created space on the right to deliver a low cross into the six-yard area that Mfeka couldn’t turn on frame, sending his effort over the crossbar. A couple of minutes later, Tacoma also had an opportunity to cut into the deficit as Reed Baker-Whiting launched a shot over the crossbar from the right side of the box, while Adeniran curled an effort wide of the left post after winning a 50-50 ball on the right and cutting in toward the penalty area, but while the visitors pushed late to try and find a way back Roots SC closed out the game to continue their drive toward a potential playoff place.
USLChampionship.com Man of the Match
Lindo Mfeka, Oakland Roots SC – Mfeka had two goals and one assist while recording three shots and two key passes overall, and also won 6 of 11 duels and 2 of 2 tackles defensively for the hosts.
OAK – Lindo Mfeka (Johnny Rodriguez) 10’
TAC – Ray Serrano (Danny Robles) 32’
OAK – Wal Fall (Lindo Mfeka) 40’
OAK – Lindo Mfeka 53’