Match Recap: California United Strikers FC 1-0 Maryland Bobcats FC

Bobcats unable to earn points in California
Published Sep 28, 2021

Written by: Edwin Pintor

September 27, 2021 (Irvine, CA) – The Maryland Bobcats visited Championship Stadium in Irvine, California, to take on California United Strikers this Sunday, September 26, 2021. Unfortunately, an early goal in the second minute of the game by Cal United proved unreversible for the Bobcats as they take their third consecutive loss.

Before the game, ‘Pele’ Sesay was taken off the Starting XI due to an ongoing injury issue. Tunde Akinlosotu would come in as a last-minute change to the XI.

California United Strikers came out with a purpose. After losing its first home game of the season last
week against Michigan Stars FC 0-2, a loss was not in the books on Sunday for Cal United. A second minute (1:47) dagger by Christian Theirjung as he beat defender Jake Dengler and left Bobcat keeper Joel Isyaq to the side, leaving him alone with the goal, and Theirjung did not miss with an empty net. An early goal changed the Bobcat game plan, but there was a lot of time left in the game. However, this game was far from over.

Cal United continued to apply pressure and attack Bobcat defenders and goalkeeper, the shots continued to arrive, but they were unable to capitalize on finding a second goal. Cal United continued to counterattack as it was the formula used to score the first goal. The Bobcat defensive line woke up, and the Bobcats now started to reverse the cards and propose attacking ideas. Karpeh Jr. found a lucky bounce from the defender and was 1v1 against the goalkeeper. However, the shot was weak and direct at the keeper.

The Bobcats were not allowing Cal United to play past their half of the field, not allowing them to triangulate more than three passes as a Bobcat player was already pouncing on the receiving player. The pressure worked as captain Kay Banjo found an opportunity to shoot the ball from outside the box. However, Cal United’s keeper just got a finger to the ball, deviating the ball to a corner kick. Blystone puts in a killer ball that finds Karpeh Jr’s. head but unfortunately his header goes just above the net and is unable to finish the play. Nevertheless, the Bobcats continued to gain momentum, and a goal seemed to be moments away.

Unfortunately, the Bobcats were unable to find the net in the first half. As the whistle blew, the Bobcats knew changes needed to be made to come out with a point or even a win out of Championship Stadium. Coach Sam and his team had a chat with the players because three subs were made as the second half commenced; Andy Alvarado, Alex Kao, and Taylor Gray came in for Samuel Kahsai, Phillip Blystone, and Tunde Akinlosotu. Three aggressive substitutions with one goal: score. A very fought out second half with most of the battle being in midfield, the game was split between both teams with neither team being in control of the game.

The Bobcats finally found danger in the last ten minutes of the game. A long ball by Dengler found Balogun (who came in for Karpeh Jr. at the 65th minute), who cut into the penalty box, leaving the defender behind, and putting him in a one-on-one situation with the goalkeeper, a strong shot that the goalkeeper saved sending the ball into a corner kick. A late long-distance kick by defender Richard Forka caused panic for a moment to the Cal United fans, but the keeper sent the ball to a corner kick.

Three minutes were added to the game. However, the Bobcats were unable to find an equalizer before the referee’s whistle. Now 2-2-5 in the season, the Maryland Bobcats will return to action against Detroit City FC at Keyworth Stadium in Michigan next Saturday, October 2, with kickoff set for 7:30 pm EST, 4:30 pm PT.


Maryland Bobcats: Isyaq (GK): Blystone (Kao 45’), Fane, Dengler, Forka; Moussi, Kahsai (Alvarado 45’),
Possian, Banjo (C); Karpeh Jr. (Balogun 65’), Akinlosotu (Gray 45’)
Subs: Olofinsua (GK), Alvarado, Gray, Balogun, Sesay
Goals: N/A
Bookings: Banjo (43’), Gray (78’)

California United Strikers: Antoine (GK); Bowers (C), Capriotti ( Minjae 45’), Lopez, Nuno ( Chile 45’),
Bryant, Liborio Jr., Theirjung, Treinen (Gonzo 45’), Hogbin, Kadono
Subs: Barrera, Araneda, Salguero, Vedamanikam, Farias, Kwak
Goals: Theirjung (2’)
Bookings: Kadono (22’), Bryant (91’)