NPSL Matchday 4: CFCSA V FC Wichita

Just got off the phone with my life insurance agent, because I’m not sure how much more my heart can take.

After last week’s insanity where FCW scored twice in stoppage time to win against Dallas City, there were very few ways they could top that performance in drama.

How about an 8 goal thriller?

Done.

Fortunately, FC Wichita finished on the winning side of a 5-3 classic that those present for won’t forget anytime soon. Goals from Kyei, Anelli, Contrares, Ten Eyck, and debutant Spencer Vue highlighted the match. The goalscorers for CFCSA were Rojas, Bartaglia, and Pratt.

The first 45 minutes of the match were highlighted by large periods of FCW possession, with CFCSA seeming content to play on the counter, but it was an unfortunate mistake by Pinto being caught too long on the ball that ended in the Rojas goal in the 23‘. The home team always looked dangerous on the break, with Cacho and Rojas impressing in particular.

Where FC Wichita seemed to be finding their joy was from set pieces, and that was where the opener from the visitors came from. A foul occurred about 28 yards outside the box, and judging from his form, there could be only one man to take it.

Up steps Jeffrey Kyei.

“He’s just confident,” said FCW Head Coach John Markey post-game, “He sees it going in the net before he even hits it.”

Kyei did not disappoint, with a free kick so top corner even CR7 would have approved. The keeper did make an acrobatic move to save, but unfortunately he could only tip it even more into the upper 90.

That’s how the half ended, with FCW coming back from a 1-0 deficit, in similar fashion to the DC game from the weekend.

Changes were made with Cantor and Anelli replacing Pinto and Osterloh at the beginning of the second 45. And it was the two newly introduced players that combined for the opening goal only three minutes into the second half. Cantor with some good work down the right hand side who slid it across to Luca for a tidy finish.

But it wasn’t going to be that easy, as after Barry had a great shot saved by the CFCSA keeper a few minutes later, Bartaglia hit a volley to equalize for Corinthians.

If not for the generosity of Corey Cantor, CFCSA would have held the lead, but he added his second assist of the day only 90 seconds later. He fed Contrares, who said to Bartaglia, anything you can do, I can do better, as he spanked a left footed volley into the bottom right hand corner.

After the 60‘, the game really turned into a full end-to-end battle. Unfortunately for FCW, GK Weir was withdrawn due to an injury, and backup goalkeeper Goldsmith entered the fray to immediately pull off two impressive saves. However, what really came into focus in the second half was the incredible depth of the Wichita team.

“That’s what makes this team so good,” said Markey, “Every player that came on for us had a positive impact on the game. They’re always ready.”

Entering the last ten minutes of the game, the mood still felt frantic, as CFCSA was throwing men in numbers at the visitors defense. And it paid off with only 9 minutes remaining in the game, with Pratt scoring a volley from the top of the box. There were suspicions of a foul in the buildup, but the referee’s job was by far not an easy one, not made any easier by constant harassment by the Corinthians players throughout.

Fortunately for the league-leaders, the last ten minutes were ultimately used the best by them, as veteran and youth combined with captain Kevin Ten Eyck rising to head in a Contrares corner and debutant Spencer Vue breaking away late to seal the game.

Ultimately, the eight goals could have been split differently, as both teams had chances spurned, but FCW will be ecstatic to leave the 2015 NPSL South Central Runner-Up’s home with a win. That keeps the team at the top of the table, with the Regals in Houston on Sunday still to play. Unfortunately, that keeps San Antonio mired at the bottom of the table this season. Despite the aggressive and hard-fought game though, the two teams remain close and was evidenced by the exchanges on social media afterwards.

Title Race Player of the Game: Cantor and Contreras were both good shouts, but the winner this week has to go to Kevin Ten Eyck. Not only did he contribute on the offensive end with his headed goal and dangerous long throws, but he also recognized how aggressively the CFCSA attack was pushing down the FCW left side late in the game. They were finding joy down that side until KTE stepped up and covered up the holes in the last 10-15 minutes to ensure no more goals were conceded. Rojas was the stand-out for the home squad, not only taking his chance well, but helping out on the defensive end when need be.

Colin Johnson
colin@titlerace.com