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Oakland Roots Victorious in Sold-Out Home Opener

The Oakland Roots got off to a blazing hot start in their season opener at Pioneer Stadium on Saturday March 9, 2024. They scored their first goal of the season less than three minutes after the opening whistle, courtesy of Jeciel Cedeño, en route to a 2-1 victory over visiting Indy Eleven.

Alameda Post - the Oakland Roots
Photo Oakland Roots Sports Club / Instagram.

Cedeño got the sold-out crowd roaring just moments into the game when he found a fortuitous bounce off of an Indy player right in front of the net. Cedeño made the most of the early opportunity, slotting an easy ball past the Indy keeper just inside the right post.

Indy nearly had the equalizer in the 21st minute after a perfectly placed free kick from just outside the box. But while the shot was good, the save was great, as Paul “The Wall” Blanchette continued to earn his nickname with a diving save to keep the sheet clean for the time being.



The run of play started to turn in Indy’s favor for much of the remaining first half, and the visitors capitalized on this pressure with an equalizer in the 43rd minute, when a cross from the right side found Jack Blake in perfect position in front of Blanchette. Blake made no mistake with the strike and leveled the match at 1-1 in the waning moments of the first frame.

Despite Indy’s attacking pressure, it was Oakland who would find twine next. Baboucarr Njie found himself in a scrum in front of the Indy net, but was able to slot a perfect pass through the Indy defenders to Bryan Tamacas who won the one-on-one matchup with the Indy keeper in-close. Tamacus deposited the ball into the back of the net in the 51st minute to give Roots their second, and final, lead of the night.

Indy continued to apply pressure, nearly equalizing for a second time on multiple scoring chances in the second half. But Oakland was able to weather the storm, keeping all of Indy’s scoring contained to the first 45, as Roots maintained their lead to the final whistle.

Oakland will be back at home for their next USL matchup when they host Charleston Battery at Pioneer Stadium on the Cal State East Bay campus next Saturday, March, 16. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Talking with the head coach

After the match, Head Coach Noah Delgado was asked what it meant to him and the team to get this win.

“New season, fresh start,” Delgado said. “It was a long offseason for players and staff and a lot of people in the club, I assume. It didn’t end well last season but to come out on our front foot and get a good result tonight at home was important, and it was important to just believe and go from there. But, you know, it’s one game. We’re very happy—it’s a good start.”

After the Roots scored early, Indy took control in the first half. Coach Delgado was asked what the game plan was from there.

“We talked at halftime, we made some tactical changes and obviously a sub at half. We got another player into the midfield and more of a possession base forwarded with Jesse as a nine. So him coming in there and finding some gaps and giving good pressure, because I had four in the midfield, that tactical change, I think, worked out.”

Summary

Scoring:
  • OAK: Jeciel Cedeño 3’
  • IND: Jack Blake 43’
  • OAK: Bryan Tamacas 51’
Discipline:
  • IND: Jack Blake 24’ (yellow card)
  • IND: Sebastián Guenzatti 24’ (yellow card)
  • IND: Karson Henderlong 25’ (yellow card)
  • IND: Callum Chapman-Page 41’ (yellow card)
  • IND: Elliot Collier 75’ (yellow card)
  • OAK: Baboucarr Njie 89’ (yellow card)
  • OAK: Irakoze Donasiyano 90’+ (yellow card)
  • IND: Cameron Lindley 90’+ (yellow card)
Oakland Roots

Lineup: Paul Blanchette, Niall Logue, Gagi Margvelashvili, Camden Riley, Irakoze Donasiyano, Neveal Hackshaw (Napo Matsoso), Bryan Tamacas, Baboucarr Njie (Justin Rasmussen), Jeciel Cedeño, Johnny Rodriguez, Miche-Naider Chéry (Daniel Gomez).

Unused subs: Tim Syrel, Ilya Alekseev, Etsgar Cruz, Trayvone Reid, Thomas Camier, Javier Bedolla-Vera.

Line: Shots: 9 | Shots On Goal: 3 | Corner Kicks: 3 | Fouls: 17 | Offside: 2

Indy Eleven

Lineup: Yannik Oetl, Aedan Stanley, Adrian Diz Pe, Callum Chapman-Page, Younes Boudadi (Josh O’Brien), Tyler Gibson (Roberto Molina), Jack Blake, Cameron Lindley, Augustine Williams, Karson Henderlong (Elliot Collier), Sebastián Guenzatti

Unused subs: Hunter Sulte, Diego Sanchez, Ethan O’Brien

Line: Shots: 20 | Shots On Goal: 5 | Corner Kicks: 9 | Fouls: 14 | Offside: 2

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