MIDLAND — With just two days of training for the entire team before Wednesday’s first round match of the U.S. Open Cup, Sockers FC head coach Matt Barnes said that he was counting on his players to be match-ready.
The Sockers opened their seventh season with a historic 3-1 victory over the Tulsa Athletics in the first round of the 2015 U.S. Open Cup at Grande Communications Stadium.
“This is one of the biggest wins in franchise history,” said an exuberant Jeff VonHolle, Sockers assistant general manager and director of soccer operations. “I’m so proud of our guys. They played hard, and they earned an amazing victory tonight.”
Just 16 minutes into the match, defender Walker Hume opened the scoring with an unassisted goal from 20 yards out. In the 35th minute, his twin brother, forward Tucker Hume, assisted Andrew Lopez’s goal, giving the Sockers’ a 2-0 lead.
The Athletics added some late drama with a goal from midfielder Jordan Schmoker in the 76th minute. However, that ended up being their last shot on goal during the match. Overall, the Sockers outshot Tulsa, 13-6.
Midfielder Scott Smith clinched the win for the Sockers with a chip-in goal from eight yards away in the 86th minute, again assisted by Tucker Hume.
“Not having much practice time together was a little tough,” Tucker said. “But we’ve been able to come together as a team very quickly, and this is a great group of players who want to work hard.”
Tulsa had an opportunity to change the momentum of the match immediately after halftime when forward Levi Coleman was awarded a penalty kick in the 46th minute. However, Sockers goalkeeper Joseph Melong made a diving save to his left to maintain the two-goal advantage.
The Sockers’ next U.S. Open Cup match will be Wednesday, May 20, at Grande Communications Stadium against the Oklahoma City Energy of the professional USL. Kickoff for the match is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
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