NPSL Matchday 8: FC Wichita vs Houston Dutch Lions

Throughout the season, FC Wichita has shown that they have developed a never say die attitude that has won them points late in games against Dallas City, Regals SCA, and just recently the Shreveport Rafters. Scoring late has become almost a trademark of this John Markey squad. But the script had one further twist in the tale this week against the second-place Dutch Lions.

Neither team came into the game in particularly sparkling form, with HDL getting beat soundly by Tulsa Athletics 5-1 and FC Wichita losing their first game of the season, also to Tulsa, 4-2. FCW also needed two late goals to secure all three points against the Shreveport Rafters only two days earlier.

This leads into a tense first ten minutes, where both teams were feeling each other out. HDL’s forward Kanan was the danger man for the visitors though, as he made multiple runs behind the FCW defense. The only thing stopping the striker from scoring a few was heroic stops by Lemons and Hamersky on defense and in goal respectively.

The best chance of the half had to go to Osterloh of FC Wichita, who curled one from just outside of the box and had it cannon back off of the crossbar. Unluckily for the home team, the rebound from Contreras was a tame one and Gutierrez gathered tidily.

FCW did settle into their possession style which they have built most of their success on this season. Sosa and Ochoa’s newfound partnership in the midfield next to Vue has proved to be paramount to the success of this system. Also, the ability of Sosa to slip back into center-back and allow the likes of Lemons and Ten Eyck to bring it out from the back has seen a lot of success in them building from the back.

However, outside of the possession, only one more chance arrived for either team that half and it was Contreras again, this time whiffing a fantastic cutback from Kyei. After that, a much needed halftime was taken, as the heat was clearly wearing on both clubs. The earlier kickoff meant they had to see more of the sun than they have usually had to this season.

In the second half, the fatigue could be seen creeping into the Houston lineup, as the possession of Wichita was forcing them to run. Headed chances from Ten Eyck and Sosa highlighted the early goings of the second half. FCW were definitely knocking on the HDL door at this point.

The withdrawals of Vue, Osterloh, and Conteras made way for Pinto, Anelli, and Shariff around the 75’.

And it would be the striker from England, whose father came all the way from the UK, who would make the difference.

But it wasn’t the goal that would be the highlight of what ended up being the opener. It was all Leo Sosa. He chased down both HDL center backs and then flicked it over another, followed by a perfect ball to the waiting Luca Anelli, who took one touch and slotted it past the diving Gutierrez.

Pandemonium.

It was poetic stuff, on Father’s Day to see you score the game winner is an unreal feeling, even at this high level. But it wasn’t to be.

Pinto had one more chance to score before the home crowd’s hearts were broken.

The only real dangerous shot on goal the Dutch Lions had all day, and it was Mexican striker Carlos Acevedo that would steal two points in the 92’.

Two points dropped by FC Wichita and one stolen by the Houston Dutch Lions. This leaves FC Wichita still with their destiny in their hands, as they eye a rematch with Tulsa Athletics in Tulsa as the game of the season.

But first, the club must travel to Fort Worth. The Vaqueros will look to throw another wrench in the works for Markey and crew. Don’t forget to watch how this unbelievable season continues on the FC Wichita Facebook page!

Colin Johnson
colin@titlerace.com