SOCCER: Sol face major playoff test this weekend in Oakland

NPSL SHOWDOWN
National Premier Soccer League West Division Final

Sonoma County Sol vs. Bay Area Ambassadors

When: Saturday, 7 p.m.
Where: Raimondi Park, Oakland
Tickets: $5

By MICHAELCOIT
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Getting hot when games count the most has demanded determined play by the Sonoma County Sol and the pro-am squad faces a tough playoff test Saturday.

With a National Premier Soccer League final four berth on the line, the Sol take on the Bay Area Ambassadors in Oakland.

While the Ambassadors won the Northern Conference with the Sol runner-up, Sonoma County took the last meeting with the teams settling for ties in this season's two other matches.

The Ambassadors and Sol tied in their first two matchups this season, 3-3 and 2-2. Sonoma shutout Bay Area 3-0 to win the third encounter and set up the West Division championship game.

Bay Area won its playoff opener 3-2 in a come-from-behind effort versus Santa Clarita.

Playing on the road was a little trouble for Sonoma County's in last weekend's opening round playoff win in San Diego. Down a man and trailing by a goal, the Sol evened the match 2-2 in the final two minutes and then, capping a rousing comeback, won on penalty kicks.

In the Sol’s match against Sacramento to clinch a playoff spot, a second-half rally from two goals down in Rohnert Park kept the season alive.

Still, the Sol have won five of their past six contests — the other was a tie — playing strong on both ends of the pitch. Five different players have scored in the past three games.

Keeping possession of the ball and creating scoring chances with patient passing has been the Sol's strength down the stretch.

Back in the playoffs for the first time in three years, the Sol look to capture the NPSL Cup as Sonoma County did in the team's previous postseason appearance.

“We’d like to have some Sonoma County soccer fans go to (Oakland) for the game,” said Sonoma’s Chris Daly. “We could use the support.”