By Kim DeRaedt
Texas Lonestrikers’ egos were dealt a devastating blow after the club fell to Regals FC 7-0 in its season-opening match of the Southern Premier Soccer League (SPSL). The Lonestrikers will hope to quickly offset their dismal start with a strong performance as they host Galveston Pirate SC today.
Last week, Regals FC came to Nacogdoches and gave hometown fans little to cheer about. The visitors exploded for five first half goals and never looked back. This week, the Lonestrikers will try their luck against the Pirates although the task appears equally as daunting. Galveston proved tough on the road last week as the team held on for a narrow 2-1 victory at Corpus Christi Fuel.
Texas Lonestrikers coach Gerardo Romero expects a strikingly similar opponent.
“The Pirates and Regals FC play a very comparable style,” Romero said. “Both teams have the upper hand when it comes to experience. Galveston will be no different. They are a tough team.”
The Lonestrikers realize that they must use this game to prove that they belong in the SPSL and hope to surprise the Pirates in the first-ever meeting between the two clubs.
Romero isn’t about to let one week’s result diminish his expectations for the team in its six-month season.
“Our goal is to come out ready and secure the three points,” Romero said. “Last week is in the past. It’s gone, and this week’s game is now the most important to us. It won’t be easy, but I expect us to win.”
Meanwhile, down in Galveston, Head Coach and General Manager Brendan Keyes also has his sights set on a victory.
“It’d be great to go up to Nacogdoches and get a win,” Keyes said. “We play our first three games on the road, so it’d be huge if we could get points out of these games. We played tough on the road last week, and I expect the same from my guys this week.”
If the Lonestrikers are going to do anything to thwart the Pirates’ plan and reverse their fate from last week, it will require a total team effort. Romero isn’t looking for a superstar to emerge but rather demands that each player steps up his game.
“Everybody needs to become a leader and push each other to do a better job,” Romero said. “We need to work hard, play together and defend better as a team. These are things we’ve been focusing on in practice this week. If we do these and lessen our mistakes, we will come out with the win.”
Keyes doesn’t doubt that the Lonestrikers have the potential to be a formidable foe once they find their cohesiveness. He believes the team’s disappointing performance last week will make the game even more challenging.
“The Lonestrikers will be a tough, tough team,” Keyes said. “It won’t be the same team as last week. The fact that they lost 7-0 worries me. They’re not about to let that happen again. They want to go out there and prove that it was a fluke.”
Today’s match will kick-off at 3 p.m. at Expo Soccer Complex. Parking is $5. Both teams will observe a moment of silence in honor of Franco Olascoaga, a former Regals FC player who passed away on Thursday after he was struck by lightning while coaching last month.