Soccer playoffs are, take your pick, a roll of the dice, a crap shoot, a roller coaster or any other like description one can imagine. We had ample evidence of this in the United Soccer League (USL) Western Conference last year when the #4 seeded Swope Park Rangers made it all the way to USL Cup. Because the top 3 western seeds, including Rio Grande Valley FC, lost in the opening round, Swope Park not only became the top remaining seed but was the beneficiary of two unexpected additional home matches against the 8th and 6th seeded western teams.
Last night in the Lonestar Conference of the NPSL, essentially the same scenario transpired as the two top seeds lost first round games and Midland-Odessa Sockers now are the beneficiary of an unexpected home match against Shreveport Rafters, who will have plenty of time to think about the task at hand on its 500+ mile and 8 hour trip to West Texas for Saturday night’s Lonestar Conference final.
Ft. Worth Vaqueros-2 Shreveport Rafters-3
After playing two games over the weekend and taking a 2-0 lead into the halftime break, the Vaqueros essentially ran out of gas and allowed 3 unanswered Rafters goals in the second half, including the game winner in added extra-time.
Here are two links, first, the game results on the Vaqueros website and, second, a story in the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram that discussed the impact the winning season has had on the fan base and the continuing search to find an appropriate soccer venue in the area:
Dutch Lions FC (HDLFC)-1 Midland-Odessa FC (MOFC)-3
MOFC scored two shock goals in the first three minutes and went on to win 3-1 against Dutch Lions FC in Conroe last night. Apparently the 9-hour bus ride from Midland to the northern Houston suburbs was not enough to slow the Sockers down, as Ricardo Palomino and Jamie O’Grady came out of the starting blocks flying and scored enough goals to eventually win the match before the game had time to settle in.
After the match head coach Matt Barnes discussed the fast start in the match summary article in oaoa.com:
“It wasn’t something that I expected but we wanted to come out and punch them in the chin,” Midland-Odessa FC head coach Matt Barnes said about his team’s start. “All week we’ve been talking about getting off to a good start. The guys were absolutely clinical in front of net.”
Below is the link to the OAOA game story:
FC Wichita-3 Dallas City FC-2
Things held to form in the Heartland Conference as one loss-#1 seeded FC Wichita held off a determined Dallas City FC side for a 3-2 win last night. Dallas City experienced quite an interesting last few weeks. Travel all over the Midwest to play “home games”, end of game controversies that resulted in multiple ejections and the need to play a postponed game last Sunday while their opponents were resting. Nevertheless, it took an 86th minute goal by Wichita to finally subdue Dallas City. Unfortunately, on the game winning goal Dallas City’s Mikey Paniagua fractured tibia and fibula. According to the game story on Wichita’s website his injury necessitated a 45-minute delay and required an ambulance to transport him to a nearby hospital. You Tube videos were posted of the Kansas crowd chanting Mikey’s name as he was stretchered off the field.
Dallas FC will be disappointed in the final game result, but the season can be considered an overall success for a team that stepped in as a replacement for Dallas area club Liverpool Warriors and did not put a roster together until a few weeks before the season.
Here is a link to the game story on FC Wichita’s website:
Conference Finals/South Region with TX teams:
Midland-Odessa FC vs. Shreveport Rafters-7:30 p.m., Saturday, July 15, 2017-Grande Communications Stadium, Midland, TX
Wichita FC vs. Tulsa Athletic-7:15 p.m., Saturday, July 15, 2017-Stryker Soccer Complex, Wichita, KS
NPSL logo courtesy of ChrisCreamer’sSportsLogos.Net