OAKLAND, Calif. – An early goal by Jesus Enriquez proved the difference as Oakland Roots SC took a 1-0 victory against Sporting Kansas City II on Saturday night at Laney Stadium to advance to the 2021 USL Championship Playoffs, presented by TwinSpires alive as the final qualifier in the Pacific Division after neither the LA Galaxy II or Tacoma Defiance took victory in their final games of the campaign.
Roots SC made an ideal start as in just the second minute a lifted ball into the penalty area aimed for Quincy Amarikwa was punched away by SKC II goalkeeper Kendall McIntosh, but the ball went straight to the feet of Jesus Enriquez who buried a finish past a covering defender on the goal line and into the net. The hosts then had a chance to double their lead in the 23rd minute when Akeem Ward got into the left side of the penalty off a pass by Amarikwa, but his narrow-angle shot was parried by McIntosh before his defense cleared.
Memo Diaz also went close for Oakland in the 29th minute with a curling shot from the top-right edge of the penalty area that was just out of the reach of Matias Fissore as he tried to apply a finishing touch before it went wide of the left post.
Amarikwa went close again for the hosts just past the hour mark with a shot from the top-left edge of the penalty area that went wide of the right post, but Oakland’s lead was never put under serious threat as Sporting recorded only four shots, none of which were on target. The best of those came with three minutes to go from Rojay Smith as he fired over the crossbar, but that proved to be all as Roots SC closed out the campaign with a win and a postseason berth in hand.
USLChampionship.com Man of the Match
Akeem Ward, Oakland Roots SC – Ward had a strong outing on the left side as he recorded seven interceptions and seven recoveries while winning 9 of 13 duels and 5 of 6 tackles to limit SKC II’s chances.
OAK – Jesus Enriquez 2’