By Kim DeRaedt
For the first 45 minutes, Texas Lonestrikers’ fans hoped, and some believed, that their team could hold off the Pirates’ offensive barrage. However, the home side couldn’t escape the inevitable as Galveston tallied three quick goals in the second half to secure a 3-0 victory on Sunday afternoon.
If it wasn’t for the heroics of Gerardo Romero, serving double duty as Lonestrikers’ coach and goalkeeper, his team would’ve been doomed. Romero turned away 12 of the Pirates’ 15 shots on goal in a performance that Galeveston coach Brendan Keyes called “inspirational”.
Texas Lonestrikers started the game strong and even mustered two quality chances on goal, but it was all about the Pirates after the first 15 minutes of play. The Pirates came into the game following an impressive, hard-fought road victory at Corpus Christi last week and proved equally as indifferent to the fatigues of travel when they took the field in Nacogdoches. They pestered the Lonestrikers’ defense all afternoon and unleashed 27 shots.
It wouldn’t be until the second half, however, that one of those shots would swoosh against the back of the net.
Heading into half time at a 0-0 deadlock, Keyes moved Carlos Menjivar from the left side into the center of the field to serve as a catalyst for the team’s attack. It was a move that Keyes credits for the team?s scoring capabilities as the 19-year-old controlled the tempo of the game and even notched a goal of his own.
The Pirates began the second half with a renewed vigor and all but sealed the victory with three quick goals. The first came off of a 15-yard strike from midfielder Luis Hernandez. It was then Menjivar’s turn to be rewarded for his commendable play with the game’s second goal. No Pirate match would be complete, however, without Roy Hernandez tallying a goal of his own. Roy, the younger brother of Luis, has averaged over a goal per game with the Pirates. This particular goal was Roy’s 20th with the club, and after his two-goal performance at Corpus Christi last week, puts him at the top of the league with three goals. Keyes said the striker’s 30-yard blast was “the best goal all year.”
It’s no surprise that the Lonestrikers eventually succumbed to Galveston’s attack. Keyes anticipates that many teams will have difficulty coping with his team’s speed offensively.
“We have speed up top, both on and off the ball, and speed kills,” Keyes said.
Nevertheless, the Lonestrikers put forth a spirited attempt much to Romero’s delight and relief after the team appeared lethargic in its 7-0 season-opening loss against Regals FC last week.
“I think we gave Galveston a much better game,” Romero said. “We’ve been focusing on playing together as a team in practice this week, and it definitely showed today. The score was level at halftime. That?s definitely progress.”
Keyes was also encouraged by his team’s collective effort that now puts the Pirates at the top of the league table in the young season.
“It’s nice to see three different players score,” Keyes said. “I know we’ve only played two games, but hopefully we can stay at the top of the league. We’re playing good soccer and picking up points on the road, so I don?t see why not.”
The team will have over a month to admire its undefeated record as the Pirates don’t return to league play until visiting Club America on November 13. One can rest assured that Galveston isn?t about to sit on its laurels, though. Keyes has several friendly matches lined up for his team in preparation for Club America whom he believes will be a tenacious opponent.
“Club America, as an organization, is the Manchester United of Mexico,” Keyes said. “There’s no doubt that their Houston academy will represent the club well.”