Dutch Lions, Dust Storm Combine for Tough Sockers' Night

Dutch Lions, Dust Storm Combine for Tough Sockers’ Night
MIDLAND, TX—When the second half ended, it was nearly impossible to see the scoreboard from the field.  Unfortunately, the raging dust storm that overshadowed the final 30 minutes of play could not obscure the end result: a 4-1 Houston Dutch Lions victory over Sockers FC at Grande Communications Stadium on Thursday night.
With the teams having identical records entering the match, and the division-leading Austin Aztex idle, the Sockers (0-1-2, 1 point) had a good opportunity to earn some key points in the playoff chase.  The excitement over the Sockers’ snazzy new kits—red jerseys, red shorts, white socks—was quickly muted as the Dutch Lions (1-1-1, 4 points) took a 1-0 lead just two minutes into the match.
Houston forward Thomas Verhaar was involved in all four of their goals, tallying one goal and three assists during the match.  In the 32nd minute, midfielder Cameron Free added to the Dutch Lions’ lead with a low line drive that deflected off the fingertips of Sockers’ goalkeeper Robin Allard and into the net.
In the second half, the very physical Dutch Lions squad continued their offensive press, adding goals in the 60th and 63rd minutes.  The Sockers avoided the shutout when forward Vitalis Atemafac scored an unassisted goal in the 71st minute.
The weather at the stadium was a significant factor throughout the evening, with high winds causing problems for both sides in the first half, and the dust storm severely limiting visibility throughout the second half.  Despite mustering 14 shots and 12 corner kick opportunities, the Sockers forced Houston goalkeeper Jaimy Schaap to make only three saves. 
“The Dutch Lions are a very strong team, and they showed it tonight,” said Sockers assistant general manager Jeff VonHolle.  “We had several opportunities to change the outcome tonight, but we are excited to rebound against Oklahoma City on Saturday.”
The final 15 minutes of the match were very physical between the teams, and four yellow cards were issued during that time.

The Sockers continue their three-game homestand with their inaugural match against the PDL’s newest franchise, Oklahoma City FC (2-1-0, 6 points), on Saturday, May 24.  That night, the first 1,000 fans 14 and under will receive a free replica jersey.  The gates open at 6:30 p.m., and kick-off is at 7:30. 

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