Sidekicks Tough Out 5-2 Win
ALLEN, Texas _ The Dallas Sidekicks played their toughest game of the season on Thursday night, beating the Rio Grande Valley Flash 5-2. This was the third meeting between the two teams, with the Sidekicks having won both previous encounters by a score of 7-3. Jamie Lovegrove scored twice, while the other Sidekick goals coming from Ricardinho, Sean Bellomy and Nick Stavrou. The win runs the Sidekicks’ record to a perfect 7-0 in their comeback season.
The game opened slowly as the Flash players were content to kick the ball around their half of the field when they had it, looking for the occasional break and letting Dallas chase them. When the Sidekicks had the ball, they were much more attack oriented, but the Flash’s solid defense and goalie Jose Bontti kept the ball out of the net for most of the first quarter. Dallas was finally able to get on the scoreboard with 11 minutes gone when Ricardinho took a pass from Jamie Lovegrove and shot low for the first goal of the game. Just a couple of minutes later Lovegrove stole the ball near midfield and raced into the area. He got Bontti moving to one side and was able to ease the ball past him on his other side, giving the Sidekicks a 2-0 lead just before the first quarter ended.
The second quarter saw more physical play as the Flash tried to get back into the game, and their effort paid dividends. They forced Dallas into its second man-down situation with just over two minutes gone in the period. Sidekicks’ keeper Sagu made a brilliant save during the two-minute penalty and kept the Flash off the board, but only for short time. Not long after the man advantage expired, the Flash’s Juam Jalomo put his team on the scoreboard at the 5:20 mark of the quarter. A series of quick passes gave Jalomo the ball in front of the Dallas goal and he was able to put it in with a quick shot of his own.
Following a Flash foul in its own end, the Sidekicks went back up by two goals. Frank Mmemba took the free kick, passing left onto the foot of Sean Bellomy, who slotted the ball past Bontti for a 3-1 Dallas lead with 8:54 gone in the quarter. It wasn’t to last long, though, as the Flash came back in similar fashion. After a Sidekick foul, the Flash passed the free kick to the left and Damian Garcia had his team’s second goal on the evening with just under four minutes to go in the half. Despite several good shots from both sides, the score remained 3-2 Dallas heading into the half.
The third quarter started at a faster pace, with Rio Grande pushing the ball more and trying to get back their goal. While faster, the play was still very physical and neither team had any real advantage as it went back and forth quickly and no goals scored. The quarter ended as it started, with Dallas holding a 3-2 lead.
The fourth quarter was much more to Dallas’ liking. With just about a minute gone, the Flash went down a man after a breakaway foul and only some luck and good goalkeeping kept the Sidekicks from scoring again. A few minutes later and Dallas had another man advantage after the Flash’s sixth penalty of the half. This time the Sidekicks made sure to finish the job. Excellent passing, with a final cross from Paolo da Silva fed the ball to a wide-open Nick Stavrou on the left side for an easy goal. Stavrou’s first goal of the season came at 7:16 of the fourth quarter and gave Dallas a 4-2 lead.
The Sidekicks were able to weather a man-down situation following their sixth penalty of the half and the Flash then moved a sixth attacking player onto the field in place of the goalie. Rio Grande initially controlled play with the extra man, but Dallas eventually moved the ball into their opponents half and put the game away with a fifth goal. Lovegrove’s second goal of the night sealed the win for the Sidekicks with just over a minute left in the game.
The Sidekicks go on the road for a two game set in Illinois this weekend. They take on the Rockford Rampage on Saturday, January 5 and the Chicago Mustangs the next day.