It may have been an international weekend, complete with important wins for the U.S. Men’s National Team and Mexican National Team, but it was also opening weekend for the Division II leagues in the United States and Canada. Here are some of the big stories you may have missed:
NASL comes (back) to California
It sounds very much like NASL will be coming to Southern California as soon as next year, but the league did finally make its way to the state for the current season, with expansion side San Francisco Deltas hosting Indy Eleven at Kezar Stadium in San Francisco on Saturday. Kyle Bekker scored the first goal in team history, a tally that really did seem to send the crowd into a frenzy, before Norcal native Tanner Thompson tied up the score on a perfectly placed header for Indy.
Here’s the first goal for the Deltas:
And if you’re a cord cutter, good news: They’re airing games on their Twitter page this season. Check out @sfdeltas for more details.
Ochoa haunts old team (in a sense)
Sammy Ochoa has had quite the trek around soccer the last several years. The Riverside native moved to the Seattle Sounders in 2011 from Mexican side Estudiantes Tecos, but never fully fit in Sigi Schmid’s plans and eventually made a move throughout USL, going to Wilmington, and then Tulsa, and now Sacramento Republic FC.
His debut with his new club could not have gone much better, as he scored a goal and assist in a comeback effort, on the road, to beat Seattle Sounders 2 on Sunday. Maybe not his old team, but in a sense it was beating the old club.
There is a feeling with Ochoa that he’s never fully lived up to the hype. Perhaps Sacramento will finally be the place where his talent can really blossom.
Hansen on the spot in MLS debut
Speaking of Sacramento, a native of Cali’s capital, Niko Hansen, had pretty much the best professional debut ever on Saturday night for Columbus Crew SC. Locked in a 2-2 battle against the high-flying Portland Timbers, Hansen made his MLS debut around the hour mark, and a few minutes from the end hit the game-winner for Columbus.
And then he got an on-camera shower during the postgame interview, and the smile never left his face. Probably wouldn’t leave yours either if you were in his place, let’s be honest.
— Columbus Crew SC (@ColumbusCrewSC) March 27, 2017