Archive for the ‘Previews’ Category

By Kim DeRaedt

Seeing double, double duty…double trouble?!  Both of this weekend’s SPSL matchups will feature a Saturday and Sunday showdown between familiar foes on untried territory.  If the results stay the same as the teams’ previous outcomes, Jack (Corpus Christi) will fall down the hill and Jill (Club America) will come tumbling after. 

To Corpus Christi, it might not seem like a fall but rather a “small hop”.  That’s because at 2-11-0, the Fuel are already about as low as a team can go.  The squad’s -35 goal differential barely scrapes by the Lonestrikers -34 mark as the league’s worst.  Speaking of scraping by, the Lonestrikers can hardly hold their head any higher above the water than the Fuel and would be at rock bottom if it wasn’t for their pair of narrow 2-1 escapes against Corpus Christi.  But those victories were during the fall and winter months, and with spring upon us, the Fuel hope to uphold an “our nest, our points” policy.  This time the Lonestrikers will have to put on their road warrior armor as they trek down to the southern coastal hotspot to battle the Fuel at 3 p.m. on Fairgrounds Field on both Saturday and Sunday.

Road warriors with an Energizer Bunny battery would better describe Club America and its 1/2 day bus ride as the wheels spin ’round and ’round before stopping in Tulsa, OK–Home of the Lobos.  Club America didn’t much appreciate the tire tracks that Tulsa left on its turf on that November weekend in Houston when the Lobos rolled over the hometown team 4-0 and 2-0 respectively.  Since then, Tulsa has been gunning it full-throttle, while Club America’s engine has been creeping in reverse.  Club America’s already humongous hill will reach mountainous proportions as the squad must now face Tulsa in Tulsa.  Stealing any points from the Lobos sends the SPSL into pandemonium, lets the lions loose, and release the bats harbored in Hades.  What will happen when the match is lit to SPSL play this weekend?

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This may look like a friendly meeting, but once the whistle sounds, there will be no mercy in the fight for first place.

By Kim DeRaedt

Nothing stings like a defeat.  Nothing reeks like being beaten by a rival.  With that said, nothing stirs a team’s drive and wets its appetite like the chance for good old-fashioned revenge. 

“Next time” is the traditional upbeat battle cry of so many troops wounded in action.  Next time is what Corpus Christi Fuel vowed when it fell to Texas Lonestrikers 4-1 on Oct. 16, and the mantra Regals FC recited after Galveston Pirate SC knocked the squad off its feet in a 2-0 defeat on Dec. 4.  Regals FC has waited patiently, and for the Fuel, it has indeed been forever, but next time will finally befall for both clubs this Saturday in Southern Premier Soccer League (SPSL) play. 

Even though the phase is often used and abused, one almost has to believe that these two squads mean business, and in reality, next time will look nothing like the last time each of these matchups transpired. 

Corpus Christi was edged by the Lonestrikers in Nacogdoches in what would be game two of an eight-game losing skid for the fledgling Fuel.  That game was before the team’s parts came together, before its motor was up and running, and before it started winning.  Like an unoccupied car rolling down a rural hill, the Fuel is rolling to victory and gaining speed, and there doesn’t appear to be anyone who will stop them.  With the team’s college “boys of summer” back in the lineup, the Fuel flattened Galveston Pirate SC 2-1 in Galveston on Dec. 18 and bulldozed Club America by the same score in its next and previous match.  Like the teased little sibling who has now grown bigger and stronger than his brothers, Fuel coach Patrick Esqueda and his men hope to get the last laugh at their former bullies this time around. Find out more!

Corpus Christi will look to push past Club America and up the SPSL standings.

By Kim DeRaedt

Last time Corpus Christi squared off against Club America Academy, the team ran out of gas after a long trek to Houston and succumbed to a 4-1 defeat.  This go around, the Fuel hosts Club America and will have a full tank to expend over 90 minutes of play on Saturday. 

To its credit, Corpus Christi trailed Club America only 1-0 in the teams’ meeting on Dec. 11 before its engine began to sputter, and the side surrendered three second-half goals.  The Fuel sought a maintenance tune up, added some parts, and emerged from the shop as a like-new team.  Galveston Pirate SC soon experienced firsthand what happens when the Fuel ignites.  In the SPSL-style “Miracle on Grass”, Corpus Christi shocked the league when it defeated Pirate SC 2-1 in Galveston just one week later.

That match was over a month ago, and since then, the Fuel has been eager to put the pedal to the metal and pick up where it left off on Victory Road.  Corpus Christi coach Patrick Esqueda assures that his squad won’t be rusty when it rolls out of the garage and onto the field, revved up for its 2011 campaign.

“We have the same core players that we took into the Galveston game, so I have no reason to not have complete confidence in us,” Esqueda said.  “If anything, we should be stronger and improve every game as our chemistry improves.” Find out more!

You may not recognize many of the Pirate SC players as the team will battle through a transformed roster in hopes of sitting on top the SPSL standings come Monday.

By Kim DeRaedt

Never mind the Arctic blast bearing down on South Texas.  This weekend’s Southern Premier Soccer League (SPSL) clashes will thaw the frozen tundra and indeed more closely resemble the fiery lava that scalds one’s feet as he tiptoes across the scorching asphalt on a mid-summer afternoon.  Who will find the hot boot and which team will erupt to victory, however, will only be revealed as the mercury rises in a pair of SPSL marquee matchups.   

It’s a task too tall for the National Weather Center itself.  Trying to judge which team will be hot and which will be cold is something beyond scientific capabilities.  Just take the two previous battles between Regals FC and Corpus Christi Fuel as a prime example.  On Oct. 24, Regals FC celebrated its home opener with an 11-1 thrashing of Corpus Christi Fuel.  A mere month later, though, Regals FC sprinted away from Corpus Christi’s turf thankful to have escaped with a 3-2 nail-biting victory that was never secure until the final whistle sounded. 

When lightning strikes and thunder rolls for the third time, these two teams will likely stir up a storm for the ages as they collide at Fairgrounds Field in Robstown, TX on Saturday.  Regals FC coach Miguel Landaverde doesn’t plan on letting anything disrupt his club’s homeostasis; that is, the tendency of his team to remain fixed on victory. 

“I have no reason to believe that we can’t win,” Landaverde said.  “We’ve beaten them twice before.  Sure they gave us a run for our money the second time, more so than I would’ve wanted, but we’re undoubtedly the stronger team.  We have new players stepping in and old players stepping up.” Find out more!

This will be the third time that Regals FC and Texas Lonestrikers go head-to-head. Lonestrikers hope that their physcial play against Tulsa will translate into three-point performances in the New Year.

By Kim DeRaedt

The New Year is typically viewed as a clean slate, a chance to leave the past behind and forge ahead toward one’s dreams.  While ambitions are admired, resolutions are rough.  It just isn’t that easy to turn the ship around, especially when both teams are streaking in the wrong direction.    

Regals FC and Texas Lonestrikers set sail on their Southern Premier Soccer League (SPSL) voyage on Oct. 2 in Nacogdoches.  The Lonestrikers were handed a 7-0 defeat, their compass was warped and their dream boat lost at sea for three months in the jerky waters.  Meanwhile, Regals FC hoisted its sails and proudly waved its flag at the front of the pack until a recent attack punctured a hole in the team’s deck and threatened to sink its treasure. 

Indeed, Regals FC were the alleged golden men of the SPSL having motored to a 5-0 start while outscoring opponents 32-4.  The season was like a Caribbean cruise; that is, until Pirate SC hijacked the ship and stole a 2-0 victory from right under Regals FC’s nose. 

Like a mouth full of salt water, Regals FC coach Miguel Landaverde and his players did not like the taste of defeat. Find out more!

Texas Lonestrikers will look to employ a strong, combined offensive and defensive effort to tackle a tough Tulsa team this weekend.

By Kim DeRaedt

As if the Texas Lonestrikers’ 1-4 start wasn’t scary enough, stranger danger may very well be a concern when Tulsa Lobos FC invades Nacogdoches for a double-header battle this weekend.  Tulsa is the last remaining Southern Premier Soccer League (SPSL) team that the Lonestrikers have yet to face this season, but the Lobos are by no means the final question left unanswered. 

Indeed, Lonestrikers coach Gerardo Romero has been scratching his head plenty of times in the franchise’s inaugural campaign.  Having conceded 20 goals while salvaging only four of their own, the numbers certainly don’t spell success for the Nacogdoches dwellers.  If the team is going to rise from its fifth place slot in the SPSL standings, both the club’s offense and defense will have to step up in sync.

Romero believes both units could benefit from focus and fitness, two elements that he has enlisted the expertise of new coach Sergio Perez to improve. 

“Sergio has been a great asset to our team,” Romero said.  “His knowledge and experience at the professional level has enabled us to design and implement a successful fitness regimen.  He has also honed in on the mental side of soccer and helped with our pre-game preparations.” Find out more!

Galveston Pirate SC will look to defend its turf when Regals FC comes to town this Saturday in the most-anticpated match of the SPSL season to date.

By Kim DeRaedt

Galveston Pirate SC and the Southern Premier Soccer League (SPSL) have been in play since the beginning of October.  For two months, Pirate SC has shared the waters with Regals FC as both clubs have kept their distance while sailing atop the league standings.  Come spring, however, the championship will be up for grabs.  Everybody knows a Pirate isn’t about to share its ship, “champion”ship that is. 

Pirate SC must defend its territory starting now.  It cannot let the enemy escape unscathed when Regals FC casts its anchor at Courville Stadium this Saturday.  The visitors have gotten the best of the Galveston gang in each of the teams’ first three meetings.  Regals FC has prevailed over Pirate SC 3-1, 5-1 and 2-1 respectively in the teams’ two friendly games and Houston Cup matchup dating back to July. 

There was hardly anything friendly about these early duels nor would “rivalry” be a sufficient term to sum up these two clubs’ detest for each other.  Of the 60 SPSL games scheduled for this season, Galveston coach Brendan Keyes believes this is “the one”.

“This will be the most intense game of the year,” Keyes said.  “We’ve had this game circled on our calendar and have been waiting for five months.  It’s the game everyone wants to play in.  All of my players are working extra hard to keep their spots. ” Find out more!