On Saturday, the Dallas Sidekicks began their new era: new coach, new faces, new attitude. A new season with a new strategy. A time for change.
The Sidekicks opened strong against the St. Louis Ambush, taking a quick 2-0 lead in the first quarter. Luiz Morales put Dallas on the board in just 94 seconds, and Brenden Lee added a brace 6 minutes in, putting Dallas in a strong position for the first half.
St Louis came back with a vengeance as Dallas lifted off the throttle late in the first quarter. Pepe Junqueira got St Louis their first, and Ado Jahic drew things level as the first quarter ended. Then the front fell off.
The Ambush scored all three 2nd quarter goals, despite 2 minutes of Dallas power play, taking a 3-2 lead into the half. Dallas would be starting the 3rd quarter 3-on-5, with both Felipe Silva and David Ortiz serving blue card penalties.
The Sidekicks managed to keep the Ambush at bay, bringing Juan Gamboa in for Estevan Vazquez in goal, but were barraged by St. Louis. If not for Gamboa’s heroics and some stellar defensive play from the field, the floodgates would have opened. Holding St. Louis to just a single goal, even strength at that, was a welcome turn of form for the previously-porous Sidekicks.
The 4th quarter began with Dallas down 6-2, and St. Louis quickly added a 7th. But Dallas didn’t roll over and concede as they previously had done so. No, this new Sidekicks team fought back – literally. David Ortiz and Brenden Lee were both sent to the box for tripping, putting Dallas in another 3-on-5 situation, and facing a penalty kick attempt. Somehow, miraculously, Gamboa saved the initial attempt, and the rebound, and the follow-up shot.
Once the dust had settled and the Sidekicks returned to full strength, this New Sidekicks proved they still had a lot of Old Sidekicks left in them, and Juan Gamboa was pulled – with more than 6 minutes left in the game – for the 6th attacker.
Less than 40 seconds later, St. Louis had an 8th goal, tapped into an empty net. Pablo Da Silva, however, was not to be deterred, and Gamboa was pulled three more times during the 4th quarter. After Luiz Morales scored on the power play, the 6th attacker contributed to Dallas scoring a 4th in the final minute of play, finishing the night with an 8-4 loss and a net 0 on 6th Attacker goals. Once again, even when the strategy works for the Sidekicks, it doesn’t actually work for them.
This marks 3 seasons in a row where the Sidekicks have lost their first game of the season, conceding an empty net goal in the process.
While Saturday’s loss proved that there are positive signs and reasons to be optimistic for the team this season, the stellar start to the new era that the team wanted didn’t go as planned.
The Sidekicks return to action this Saturday, December 11, against the 2-0 Kansas City Comets.