CONROE, Tex. — Houston is an eight hour bus drive and 520 miles away from Midland. The Sockers wanted to keep their distance. After losing in their second Open Cup match with a lone goal on Wednesday, the Sockers buried six goals in the back of the net on Saturday. The Sockers were greatly benefitted by their bench, which contributed three goals, and from being far more aggressive than their opposition to pull out the big victory in the first of four contests against the Dutch Lions.
The bulk of the work came in the second half where we saw six total goals recorded. However, it opened with a familiar face in a predictable situation. In the 13th minute, Fabio Pena worked his way down the right side of the field to create an opportunity. He played a glorious ball into the box by that was taken care of routinely by star forward Tucker Hume.
Alberto Garcia was the most recent addition to this year’s squad after showing flashes of brilliance last season. Lucky for the Sockers he doesn’t take long to get back in form. After scoring in his first match on Wednesday, “Beto” wanted to spend more quality time with the back of the net. Five minutes after he entered to start the second half he found himself in position to give the Sockers a two goal lead. Beto took a pass from Jesus Bolivar and, using brilliant ball skill and footwork, fooled his defender, giving him space to fire home an easy insurance goal. Turns out the Sockers have a pretty good insurance plan.
Garcia’s goal would open the flood gates for four more second half goals. The Sockers and Andrew Fox, once again, showed their team discipline on another brilliantly worked set piece. In the 55th minute the Sockers found themselves with a corner, one of their nine in the game. "Foxy", who has been outstanding on set pieces thus far, played a beautiful cross in and it fell right on the head of Walker Hume to give the defender his first goal of the season. Following the set piece, Walker almost netted his second chance of the night.
In the 60th minute, a crowded goal area became a threat for Houston. Finally, after the ball bounced around for a bit, Walker Hume was able to awkwardly get a soft shot on target. The Houston goalie was off of his line leaving Hume with a fairly open net. However, it was unclear whether the ball would find the back of the net from its current path. At the last minute, Omar Lawrence ensured the goal would score and gave the Sockers a 4-0 lead.
Kristian Piippo made his debut with twenty-two minutes remaining in the game. He made every minute worth it. It is always a special moment whenever you score in your squad debut. It is even more special to score twice and that is exactly what Piippo did. His first goal came in the 75th minute, seven minutes after he entered play, from an assist by Garcia. He fired home his second on a pass into the penalty box from Scott Smith in the 80th minute to give them a six-nil lead. However, the Sockers would not go unscathed.
To the dismay of Coach Barnes, a late game blunder proved costly to the shutout. A corner kick late in the game was punched by goalkeeper Sean Boyle. However, his timing was off and he did not strike the ball cleanly with his fist. The ball took an unfortunate deflection and ended up in the back of the net for an own goal. The scoring summary would end there with a final score of 6-1.
Houston played a very possessive game, but lacked the attacking mindset to keep up with the goal scoring barrage by the Sockers. The win gives the Sockers their second in as many tries in the PDL in 2015. The Sockers will play one of their biggest rivals, the Laredo Heat, on Saturday, May 30 at Grande Communications Stadium. This will open a favorable six-game home stretch over the next month of the season. The gates will open at 7:00 p.m. and the opening whistle will blow at 7:30 p.m.
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