Mesquite Outlaws finding ways to stay competitive in first season

New professional sports teams usually struggle in their first season. Three Dallas soccer icons led the Mesquite Outlaws into their first season as Tatu, Nick Stavrou, Sagu brought a wealth of experience at the indoor variant of the world’s most popular sport.

That coaching staff, combined with a number of players who had played recently in the MASL, many for the other MetroPlex area team, the Dallas Sidekicks, established a competitive team, especially for a team in its first year in the league.

Jamie Lovegrove
Jamie Lovegrove jogs off the pitch as his Outlaw teammates celebrate. (Courtesy Mesquite Outlaws)

In fact, the Outlaws have won all three of their match-ups against the storied Sidekicks, and have been competitive in almost every other match against some of the best teams in the league. Unfortunately, while they have often kept the scores close, they have only been able to win one other game, a road victory over the Turlock Express, 5-3, on January 18.

A big part of their success is due to the tactical experience of the coaching staff. With many of the players who struggled against league opposition when they were with the Sidekicks, those same players have kept the games closer because of an addition or two to the roster, but also because of a more cohesive game plan and better awareness on both ends of free-kick opportunities. While the games still show in the standings as a loss, the goal differential has clearly been better for the Outlaws than the Sidekicks.

For those who have followed the league, it is no surprise that the Outlaws are led in scoring by Jamie Lovegrove, VcMor Eligwe and Anthony Powell, but that trio is joined by newcomer Jorge DeLeon.

Also making an impact is defender Mitches Cardenas, a league veteran who has added his own experience to the likes of Cody Ellis and Mike Jones.

With Eduardo Cortes playing well in goal for the Outlaws, the group has combined to keep their games tight with most of the teams they have faced, including the likes of the San Diego Sockers and Monterrey Flash, clubs who have traditionally challenged for the league championship.

But if the Outlaws are to make the playoffs, one of their goals this season, they will have to go on a pretty significant winning streak as there are only ten remaining games in the season for Mesquite, and they only have one more game remaining against the Sidekicks, so they are going to have to find a way to get victories against the other MASL teams.

As they head into their game Thursday night with Utica City FC, they sit in 6th place in the Western Conference with a record of 4-10. Utica, on the other hand, has a record of 9-3 and is second in the Eastern Conference. They then play host to the Tacoma Stars on Sunday at 3:00 pm. The Stars are 6-8 and are in 4th in the West.

On the whole, Mesquite has shown they can hang in the MASL, and are not out of the playoffs completely. If nothing else, they should remain competitive in most of their games, especially the home matches.

Anthony Powell playing for the Mesquite Outlaws shoots against the Monterrey Flash. (Courtesy Mesquite Outlaws)

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