Game Notes & Player Ratings: Oakland Roots Playoff Bound With 1-Nil Win Over SKCII
|Source: Oakland Roots SC|
The Oakland Roots won 1-0 over Sporting Kansas City II on Saturday night, but its match was only partially over at the time. The squad gathered at midfield, staring intently at the Laney College Stadium screen as Orange County and Los Angeles Galaxy II continued scoreless in the 65th minute.
The Blog's Aaron Lawson recapped the win this morning, highlighting Oakland's goal and pointing out the "shambolic nature" of KC's shoddy backline when Chuy Enriquez scored in the second minute, while detailing the excruciating torture watching OC and Los Dos carry on.
Reader, years were taken off my life on Saturday. We informed you pregame that Sporting KC II’s back line was…more of a beaded curtain than a wall, and its shambolic nature revealed itself early: Kai Greene lofted a ball over the top to Quincy Amarikwa. Sporting’s back line lost all resemblance to a line, allowing Quincy to sneak in on goal. Sporting’s keeper, Oakland native and Santa Clara graduate, Kendall McIntosh, decided to come out and challenge but that decision was made waaaaaay too late, and ultimately all he was able to do was serve the ball on a platter to Chuy Enriquez.
Chuy, Chuy, Chuy, Chuy, Chuy, Chuy, Chuy, Chuy Enriquezzzzzzzzzzz!!! pic.twitter.com/XUawSqzpGo— Oakland Roots (@oaklandrootssc) October 31, 2021
Thomas Enevoldsen smashed home the game-winning goal at 90+4' for Orange County, officially punching Oakland's ticket to El Paso for Friday's playoff opener.
For all the key moments from last night, head to the official Live Blog from Oakland-SKC II. For this article, however, we have some great videos to share.
With the stream on the Laney College big screen running about a minute late, Roots' assistants on the field were already celebrating while holding up their phone's screens to people nearby. With the roar of fans growing around the field, the players watched on with grins growing wider until Enevoldsen landed the game-winner.
Roots' technical director and interim head coach Jordan Ferrell, wrapped in the moment, marched toward the Deep Roots (The Function) section with his kids in tow and daughter on his shoulder--shouting along the lyrics to "Dale Oakland Roots!," belting out an exuberant scream as he approached the chain-link fence.
Ferrell, voice shaking during our postgame press conference, was his most emotional from any point of the season. He made sure to thank the supporters, staff, and players for helping lift up the club.
"I think everybody knows this club is special. It is special to me, it's special to so many people. We have tried to do something very different. It's been a challenging first year in the USL but I want to thank everybody who wears a Roots shirt as staff, on game day, or throughout any period of time. That's the number one thank you.
"I want to say thank you to our board because the four of them are people who are willing to have tough conversations and they are willing to recognize the values of the club and the things we all believe in. That's incredible.
"This group of players is unique; it's been different players in and out throughout the season, that's the nature of a first-year program. What they've been able to do as a group as human-beings and men who came together in a very short period of time. My hat's off to them.
"And then my staff. My staff is remarkable. From Chris Malenab, and Jeremy Clark, and Nana Attakora, Bruce and Crystal Lee before... They've all been incredible and we've weathered some insane storms.
"There's one person who doesn't get a lot of credit, that's Eric Yamamoto, there's a lot of people who don't know about him, and a lot of people who do know him. He manages to remain as the Godfather in the background. He texts me after every single game no matter what. There's one person who's been in very tough conversations and in the trenches with me when others haven't.
"Tonight, that man gets his credit. He's a legend in my book."
The organization started the season 1-3-8 in dead-last as of Aug. 11 after the Sacramento Republic sabotaged Oakland's June 19 home-opener and subsequent schedule, endured a COVID-19 spell, and battled all the way back into fourth.
So, who "took care of their shit" now, Sacramento?
"Thank God for those ties right now, right? The different moments when we were struggling trying to get anything going, but able to get a 0-0; those are what made the difference tonight. You guys know how many different lineups we've put out this year. This is one of the first times we've returned an identical lineup. What a season," said Ferrell.
Roots' berth into the playoffs also assured that no reserve teams (LA, TAC, LV, ATL, KC, NY) made the postseason.
Oakland finished the night with 41 percent possession and recorded six shots with three on target, three chances created, and two big opportunities.