The Monterey Bay Football Club (FC) won their opening game against the Vegas lights FC at the newly remodeled Cardinale Stadium on Saturday, May 7.
The game was an even match until Monterey Bay FC player and California State University, Monterey Bay alumnus Walmer Martinez scored in the 56th minute after Simon Dawkins made a pass across the field to Martinez who was sprinting down the right line. This marked the first ever goal scored in the new stadium and fans went wild.
“It’s an amazing feeling,” Martinez said, after winning the game. “Especially to have all of my family here. It couldn’t have been any better, it’s just amazing. I can’t even describe it. I saw an opening in the goal, took a shot and it went in. So I’m super happy about that and I’m glad that I did it in front of the fans. They deserve it, they deserved this win, we owed it to them and I’m super stoked about it.”
There were over 5,000 fans in attendance that night, waving towels in excitement, rocking their Monterey Bay FC gear. Local businesses like Alvarado Street Brewery, Nacho Bizness, Ivan’s baked potatoes, and several other food trucks vended inside and outside of the stadium and saw a good amount of business from energetic fans.
Meanwhile, newcomer goalkeeper, Carlos Herrera, kept Monterey’s FC ahead of the game with a final score of 0-1.
“You could see nothing for 89, 90 minutes,” Herrera said. “Come the 65th, 70th minute, I was thinking to myself ‘OK, we’re up 1-0 and they are going to have one chance.’ I knew they were going to come forward with everything they have, they were going to get one. I was prepared, and thank God I made the save.”
This was Herrera’s first ever professional game. “To have it be the home opener, the first home win, first shutout in club history, in front of these fans, and having my whole family here, it was literally a thing of dreams. I couldn’t have asked for a better game,” Herrera said.