Heartbreaking finish for Men's Soccer
Scorpions awake just in time
Ramos goal held up until final 11 minutes
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- Three goals in the final eleven minutes by the University of Texas at Brownsville handed Southwestern Assemblies of God University a 3-1 loss at Pride Park on Saturday afternoon.
Playing one of their best games in recent history, SAGU led the Scorpions 1-0 on a goal by Jonathan Ramos (Tegus, Honduras / Garringer HS, Charlotte, NC). A masterful defensive effort had thwarted the second place visitors, who are now 8-4-2 overall and 6-1-1 in the Red River Athletic Conference.
“That goal may have woke us up,” said a grateful UTB head coach Dan Balaguero . “Number 17 (Ramos) had a great finish on his goal,” the native of Nottingham added in his English brogue.
“The foul called by the official was the turning point,” he continued. “It set up the free kick that rescued us. To tell you the truth, we had run out of ideas against the SAGU defense. It gave us a lifeline and energized us.”
The veteran coach, who is in his fifth year in the Rio Grande Valley (124-38-9 career mark as a head coach), was speaking about a foul cited against a Southwestern defender that he described as a 50-50 call. The center referee awarded Orrin Ferrell a direct kick from 25 yards. The sophomore from Ireland nailed a left-footed, hooking shot just over a wall of Lions and into the upper corner in the 78th minute.
The tally leveled the scoreboard at one apiece in the 78th minute.
Southwestern had controlled the pace of the match until then. The score by Ramos was beautiful.
Ramos: "You have mail!"
Salvador "Chava" Avila (Irving, Tx / MacArthus HS) set him up by threading the needle with a pass across a crease in the defense, going right-to-left. Ramos went to his left along the edge of the box while shielding a defender. He applied the breaks, pivoted, then applied an express stamp on the ball. His kick arrived "special delivery" as he positively needed it 'same day.'
It set off a fun celebration in the bleachers and near midfield, where Ramos, nicknamed "Colocho" (curly top), slid on both knees while his teammates surrounded the 5-foot-7 inch sophomore.
As for the aforementioned foul, it came about nine minutes after the Ramos goal.
Out of ideas, Scorpions catch a break
The Scorpions attack had no stinger until the foul, which happened away from the play. It swung momentum in favor of the Blue and Orange. UTB then came to life and pulled the trigger on several shots against a Lions team that was suddenly on their heels.
Mario Perez boomed a shot from eight yards out that nearly knocked Cesar Galvan (Allen, Tx / Lovejoy HS) down, though he made the save 82:15 into the game. Less than minute later Jorge Cantu , who had just entered the game, sent a knifing cross that went past two defenders to Leigh Veidman , a junior from Liverpool, U.K. He one-timed a high ball for a 2-1 lead at 83:01.
Danny Martinez (Houston, Tx / Cypress Creek HS) was held scoreless, drawing more attention than an oak tree does lightning. Still, he beat the Scorpions right flank with a drive, turned the corner and proceeded to launch a sharp-angled shot that just missed the back post.
UTB iced the game by getting a Jose Galvan (no relation) goal in the 89th minute, made possible by a Steve Howard feed. The Lions were pressing on the offensive end and the predatory anthropods capitalized to seal the deal with their third shot to tickle the twine.
Coach sings praises of Lions
“They are very improved,” Belaguero said of the Lions. “They are plenty quicker and obviously well-coached. The players moved the ball well and have improved a ton. This team is a credit to the university.”
Martinez had a few other quality chances to score. He fired a torpedo from 22-yards that was snared by GK Michael Argumedo early in the match.
Perhaps the best executed moment came in the 29th minute. Alex Vazquez (Mexico City, Mex / Midwestern State Univ), the cagey midfielder, delivered a slicing entry that split two middle defenders. Martinez controlled the pass in mid-stride, and then discharged a bullet that smacked the right post.
Other opportunities were snuffed out by Argumedo or a defense led by Fredrik Ekvall .
Joe Ballah (Monrovia, Liberia / Independence HS, Charlotte, NC) had a breakaway bid. He lifted a looping shot high but the charging keeper jumped to stifle the shot. On a different play, Ramos took a through-ball from Martinez, but was tripped up in the box. No foul was indicated in the 57th minute.
Rezo Perez (Dallas, Tx / Jefferson HS) banged a shot in the 61st that was defensed. Riffin Kajangu (Charlotte, NC / UNC-Charlotte) fed Ramos in the box, but his boot cleared the crossbar.
More would-be occasions; a Martinez rush up the sideline ended when his centering pass to either Ballah or Ramos was skewed. Ramos raised a centering ball to Martinez moments before the first score, but the netminder beat him to the ball.
UTB finished with a 19-15 advantage in shots as well as a 6-1 margin in cornerkicks. The contest saw the Lions called for 15 of the game’s 22 fouls.
Past Two Weeks
SAGU was on the verge of their first-ever berth in the RRAC post-season tournament two weeks ago. But a case of bad luck and leads lost late in games resulted in an 0-2-2 mark over ten days. It now has the Lions' backs against the wall.
At 5-6-4 (won-lost-tied) in all games, the Lions league ledger has slipped to 3-3-2. Head Coach Gerald Nichols remains optimistic the club will make a way in their final three games.
Upcoming Two Weeks
Next up for the Purple Pride are the Rams of Texas Wesleyan University (7-5-2, 4-2-1 RRAC). The match is listed for Thursday, October 20, at 7:30pm.
SAGU then journeys to Hobbs, New Mexico for a 4:00pm Saturday dual with the University of the Southwest (2-10-1, 1-6-1 RRAC).
They wrap-up the regular season on October 29 when Huston-Tillotson University (12-2, 8-0 RRAC) comes to town for Senior Night.