SEASIDE, Calif. – Monterey Bay F.C.’s first signing in club history Walmer Martinez delivered the first goal in Cardinale Stadium’s history as the first-year side took a 1-0 win in its inaugural home opener against Las Vegas Lights FC on Saturday night.
Monterey Bay had the better of the early going and almost took the lead in the eight minute when Martinez’s free kick from the right was headed on target by Christian Volesky only for Las Vegas’ Tomas Romero to tip the effort over the crossbar. Volesky went close again off another set piece in the 18th minute, this time flicking a header off Robbie Crawford’s corner kick from the left wide of the right post, while Romero had to come up with a big save to keep out a deflected shot by Martinez that was spinning toward the bottom-left corner before his fine save.
Playing before a festive home crowd for the first time, Monterey Bay continued to threaten and in the 34th minute Simon Dawkins rang the crossbar with a free kick from 25 yards aimed toward the top-right corner of the net. Arun Basuljevic then shot over from eight yards after Romero was unable to corral a low cross-shot by Morey Doner from the right three minutes before the halftime break.
The breakthrough came for the hosts in the 56th minute, however, as Martinez received possession on the right flank from Dawkins and cut toward the top-right edge of the penalty area before unleashing a shot to the near-post that flew into the back of the net from 20 yards to send the home fans into celebration. James Murphy almost added a second for the hosts with 16 minutes to go but saw his shot after a through-ball into the penalty area blocked before Las Vegas threatened to spoil the party late when both Dekel Keinan and Morten Björshol threatened late. Monterey Bay held on, though, to pick up their second win of the season and open their official home in some style.
USLChampionship.com Player of the Match
Walmer Martinez, Monterey Bay F.C. – The El Salvador international delivered the signature moment for Cardinale Stadium’s opening and was positive throughout, recording three shots and two key passes in the win.
MB – Walmer Martinez (Simon Dawkins) 56’