Both local Major Arena Soccer League teams took to the floor last weekend, with the Dallas Sidekicks hosting the Chihuahua Savage, and the Mesquite Outlaws hosting the Kansas City Comets.
Dallas Sidekicks vs Chihuahua Savage
Dallas opened their season against a tough Savage side which made the semifinals last season, working with a depleted roster thanks to untimely injuries and last-minute reinforcement signings.
Chihuahua took an early 1-0 lead just two minutes into the first quarter thanks to Enrique Cañez, and by the 9th minute led 3-0 with goals from Flaco Macias and Hugo Puentes. Dallas finally got their first goal of the season thanks to Felipe Silva with 3 minutes left, who scored from the far side of the center line to bring the Sidekicks within one.t in the first.
The first four minutes of the second quarter saw both teams get aggressive, each committing 4 fouls in rapid succession. Hugo Puentes gave Chihuahua a 4-1 lead with his second goal of the night five minutes in, catching Juan Gamboa off guard with a rebounded shot. Dallas managed to turn an intercepted kickoff into a quick response thanks to Ahmed Zaky’s defensive footwork and a perfect pass to a speeding Oscar Romero.
Dallas caught another lucky break off the ensuing kickoff thanks to Savage keeper Berna Valdovinos leaving his box and running up the left wing. His bizarre decision left a wide-open net for Cameron Brown to send it from the far side of the center line. Following five minutes of back-and-forth aggressive play, Alvaro Luevano and Edgar Gonzalez combined to further extend Chihuahua’s lead to 5-3 with what proved to be the final goal of the first half.
Enrique Cañez opened the second half scoring, giving the Savage their 6th goal of the night 3 minutes into the third. Dallas once again saw fortune come their way, winning a free kick from the top of the arc just seconds later. Oscar Romero passed to a wide-open Blas Perez, and the Superraton buried his shot past Valdovinos. Perez kept the pressure on, and just two minutes later, shrugged off a tackle to once again beat Valdovinos to cut Chihuahua’s lead to one.
Things would not last, as Chihuahua scored twice in the next four minutes to take an 8-5 lead. Juan Gamboa capped off the 3rd by conceding a penalty for a handball outside the box with just 40 seconds left. Edgar Gonzalez beat backup keeper Estevan Vasquez to finish off the third quarter with a 9-5 lead for the Savage.
Dallas came out aggressive in the 4th quarter, and after 9 minutes of little but fouls, went for the 6th attacker, to little avail. A blue card to Chihuahua’s Macias gave Dallas a power play opportunity with less than 40 seconds on the clock, which Bradlee Baladez capitalized on, to score the final goal of the night ultimately.
Despite losing 9-6, Dallas managed to outshoot their opponents 19-18, and were it not for their 14 penalty minutes to Chihuahua’s 2, might have found a more favorable outcome. Blas Perez thoroughly impressed on his debut, scoring 2 of Dallas’s 6 goals and joining Oscar Romero atop the points chart with 2 each. Juan Gamboa had an uncharacteristically poor night, saving just 5 of 13 shots, as his defenders struggled to contain Chihuahua’s aggressive attackers.
Mesquite Outlaws vs Kansas City Comets
Just 30 miles to the south, the new-look 1-0 Mesquite Outlaws played host to the 1-1 Kansas City Comets.
Mesquite came out swinging, piling on the pressure from the opening kickoff and out-shooting the Comets 8-5, but couldn’t break through until the 12th minute. An opportunistic header from Isaias Emmanuel Robles off a rebounded shot from Steven Chavez caught Kansas City keeper Steven Tekesky lying down, giving Mesquite a 1-0 lead into the second quarter.
Mesquite opened the scoring in the second frame with a fantastic team goal less than 90 seconds in. A series of quick passes between Jorge Deleon and Luiz Morales sliced through the Comets defenders to double the lead. Kansas City struggled against Mesquite’s defense for the next four minutes before capitalizing on a free kick just outside the box. While Pollo Cortez saved the first shot, his dive left him prone, with a wide open net for James Togbah to cut the lead in half.
Despite a power play opportunity not long after, the Outlaws couldn’t find the net, with Kansas City killing the penalty through 5 blocked shots. Once the Comets returned to full strength, neither side could find many opportunities, giving Mesquite a 2-1 halftime lead.
Kansas City looked strong in the 3rd quarter, with Tekesky making several nice saves and the Comets once again killing a penalty, this time coming close to notching a shorthanded goal. Both keepers dueled to keep the 3rd quarter scoreless for both sides, with Pollo Cortez registering 5 saves of his own in the final 5 minutes.
The Comets kept things interesting in the 4th quarter, with Lucas Sousa scoring off a free kick just 30 seconds in to bring things level. A blue and yellow penalty to Luiz Morales for boarding and dissent just two minutes later gave the Outlaws an opportunity to kill a penalty of their own, and upon returning to full strength got a 3rd goal thanks to a hard shot from Sebastian Mendez.
Another penalty to the Comets gave Mesquite a man advantage at the 9-minute mark, and in a near replay of his previous goal, Sebastian Mendez got his second to give Mesquite a 4-2 lead. Kansas City countered by pulling their keeper, and with less than 2 minutes on the clock, clawed back one from Felipe Abreu. The Comets stuck with the 6th attacker from the kickoff, but left too much space for David Ortiz to send it into the empty net. Mesquite’s defenders held on to secure a 5-3 win and extend to 2-0 on the season.
Sebastian Mendez and David Ortiz led the Outlaws in the points chart with two each, with Mendez leading scoring with two goals. Pollo Cortez stood on his head to save 24 of 27 shots, and Stephen Gonzales led the defenders with 3 shots blocked. Despite being outshot 35 to 25, with the scales further unbalanced 17-3 in the 4th quarter alone, Mesquite held strong defensively against one of the league’s most potent attacking sides.
Both teams return to action next weekend, with Mesquite traveling to the freshly renamed Empire Strykers in Ontario, California on Friday, December 16, while the Sidekicks will host the Strykers on Sunday, December 18. Mesquite will stay in SoCal on Sunday, traveling to San Diego to take on the Sockers. After a break for Christmas, the two teams will face each other for the first time this season in Allen on Thursday, December 29.