Archive for the ‘Teams’ 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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With the game in first-place bragging rights up in the air, Regals FC pulled through in the second half to claim the prize.

By Kim DeRaedt

Regals FC slept through much of the first half of its game on Saturday but fortunately, the team woke up hungry just in time for the second half of play.  With a Snap, Crackle, and Pop—Regals FC put itself back on top of the Southern Premier Soccer League (SPSL) standings with a 2-1 victory over Galveston Pirate SC. 

The match didn’t start out so satisfying for Regals FC, however, as the team stared at an empty offensive bowl early on.  Indeed, it was visiting Pirate SC that chowed down on the attacking end right after the opening whistle.  Justin Santibanez clinched the momentum for Galveston by firing two shots in the first 90 seconds.  Santibanez’s speed continued to plague the Regals FC defense as the striker amassed his team-high six shots but couldn’t funnel any on frame.

Nevertheless, it would be Santibanez’s speed and not his shooting ability that would set up Pirate SC’s golden chance of the afternoon.  Midway through the first half, Santibanez raced down the left flank and cut into the box where Regals FC defender Robert Hernandez was left with no option but to take him down as he sped by.  Jonathan Yanez stepped up to the spot and tucked a mid-height penalty shot into the right side of the net as goalkeeper Marcos Sanchez fell to his left. 

Short-handed Galveston found itself up 1-0 on the road against Regals FC in the 29th minute.  Clearly, the team had a rough road ahead to seal the three points.  Luckily, goalkeeper Eloy Aguirre was alert and agile to pounce on Cesar Silva’s point blank shot and preserve Galveston’s lead just minutes later.  Aguirre’s aggressive play prevented Regals FC from completing much of its offensive ploy, while Osama Buazza’s few efforts to connect off the cross with Enrique Gonzalez failed to produce a threat on target. Find out more!

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!

Two is better than one or so was Corpus Christi's theory as the team slid by Club America 2-1 on a late penalty kick.

By Kim DeRaedt

It’s not a wise idea to leave the boss displeased, so when co-owner Michelle Esqueda requested a Fuel victory as her birthday wish, the players wisely delivered. Corpus Christi skirted past Club America Academy 2-1 for its second-straight win in Southern Premier Soccer League (SPSL) play.

Hardly a cakewalk, Club America crashed Corpus Christi’s party before the Fuel could even hang all the streamers and tie the balloons. In just the 15th minute of play, a defensive miscue by the home side threatened to washout the Fuel’s festivities as Club America pounced on a poor back pass to race to a 1-0 lead.

A mere 10 minutes later, the cheers of the crowd were once again suspended, although this time the silence was soon filled by the wail of an ambulance as it pulled onto Fairgrounds Field to transport the Fuel’s John Uros, who suffered a broken collarbone, to a nearby hospital.

The tight-knit Corpus Christi crew were understandably shaken and concerned about their fellow teammate’s well-being.

“The guys were demoralized,” Fuel coach Patrick Esqueda said. “It’s hard to witness something like that.” 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!

Galveston and Tulsa went head to head twice this weekend, but two games proved no better than one in determining the league leader.

By Kim DeRaedt

Tulsa Lobos FC cast its anchor in Galveston having arrived with the riches and loot envied by most of the Southern Premier Soccer League’s (SPSL) clubs.  Like typical bandits, Pirate SC seized the opportunity to snatch some plunder and showed piddling pity to its enemy as the team defeated the Lobos 3-2 and drew 3-3 in Saturday and Sunday’s action respectively.

Tulsa made the southern trek as the league’s royalty, sitting atop the standings with a coveted 6-0-1 record.  Only Regals FC and Galveston Pirate SC were within striking distance, and no team had been able to rock the boat on Tulsa’s nearly perfect cruise through the SPSL’s inaugural season.  In fact, Pirate SC had been the only team able to cause a minor disturbance having drawn 4-4 with the league leaders a month before.  The forecast looked good for the Oklahoma crew despite the sloppy weekend downpour that saturated Texas’s chilly coastal city. 

Galveston was akin to a deserted island; Pirate SC resembled an abandoned ship.  The holidays had hardly brought cheer to the club’s composition.  Pirate SC lost several key players at the turn of the year and was forced to start nearly from scratch, to rewrite the legacy the team had spent six months manufacturing. 

And the industrious players didn’t skip a beat.  After all, New Years are designed for new beginnings.  Maybe Tulsa should’ve realized that the gloomy skies foreshadowed a dim outcome as the side kicked-off against Galveston on Saturday afternoon.  Even so, it is safe to say that few SPSL followers could have predicted such a strong performance from a hodgepodge Pirate SC party. 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!