Project 51O continued their march towards USL League Two’s Western Conference Southwest Division title on Sunday, capturing a comfortable 3-0 victory against Davis Legacy at Ohlone College. The mid-table Legacy came to town with the slimmest of playoff hopes, needing two wins and some assistance from the SF Glen’s opponents to sneak into the last postseason spot. 51O sought to tack on another victory to their three game winning streak, and take full advantage of their last home match of the regular season.
In the 18th minute, Javi Mariona thought he had given 51O the lead with his third goal in as many games, but his hopes were dashed by the assistant’s offsides flag. Moments later, any fleeting hope of Davis sneaking a result away from home was quickly snuffed out, courtesy of a Javeri Ruiz-Duran masterpiece. After Legacy goalkeeper Gerardo Perez-Plata made a double save to deny Etsgar Cruz and Luis Saldaña, the ball found itself at the feet of Ruiz, 25 yards out from goal. After cushioning Noah Bohane’s pass, the captain unleashed a piledriver into the top right corner of the net, Perez-Plata’s dive merely a courtesy.
Just 5 minutes later, 51O would double the lead, as wing wizard Mariona danced past a helpless Legacy fullback with a series of body feints in the box, and squared to Cruz, who tapped home for his second USL League Two goal of the season. Over the last three games, Mariona has helped himself to 2 goals and 3 assists, providing a lethal threat in the 51O attack. Halftime came without the Legacy creating any notable chances, a testament to 51O’s strong midfield defending, and the commanding aerial presence of Niklas Dossmann on the backline.
51O began the second half with the same intensity that they played with in the first, keeping the tempo high, and making the Legacy players chase the game in the heat of the day. The boys from The Town would put the game out of sight eight minutes after the whistle, with a well-worked set piece goal. St. Mary’s product Bohane whipped in a delicious right footed corner that evaded two Legacy defenders at the back post where the stalwart Spaniard Ruiz awaited, guiding his header down and away from Perez-Plata at the near post. The third goal broke the spirit of the visitors, and despite some heroics from Perez-Plata to deny Saldaña and Mariona on multiple occasions, the Legacy front line could not replicate their goalkeeper’s performance, and the match ended with a comfortable three goal victory for the hosts.
“I am very happy for the victory today in our last home game,” said Ruiz, tapping in after his two goal performance. “Next week, we have our last regular season game away vs. Fuego in Fresno, and we will need all your support so we can clinch that championship. Let’s go Project!”
The victory cements 51O’s hold on the top spot in the division, with one game remaining. With 25 points from 11 games, 5 more than second-place Ventura County Fusion, Project 51O controls its championship destiny: a win vs Central Valley Fuego II next Sunday would see them win a regular season league title in the team’s first season competing in USL League Two. With their postseason hopes dashed, Davis Legacy will look to finish the season on a strong note, when they host Marin FC Legends on Friday, July 15th.