This Saturday evening the Lions closed out the fall portion of their 2013-2014 TPSL schedule under the lights at the Houston Dutch Lions FC Soccer Complex. It was a beautiful night for soccer as the Lions took on the second place BCS BearKatz FC (2-2-0) from the College Station area. The Lions knew that they would be in for a battle as the BearKatz were looking to be the TPSL team to hand the boys in orange their first loss of the season. It was not to be on this night though, as the Lions played an excellent game and came out with a 4-1 win to remain undefeated.
Coach Marco Pruis’s squad had a few changes from the starting line up that took the field in the last game against Hurricanes FC. Israel Becerra got the start in goal and Juan Lozoya returned to the lineup after recovering from a minor injury. Roberto Velazquez earned his first start of the season after scoring four goals off the bench in the first four matches of the season. The rest of the Lions squad remained unchanged from the last match. From the opening whistle, Velazquez took advantage of his first start of the TPSL season. The Lions (5-0-0) took an early 1-0 advantage when in the 4th minute Jesus Vidal fed a nice ball to Velazquez who calmly netted the opening goal. It would not be long before Houston and Velazquez used their pressure to force another goal. Strong play in the Lions defensive half forced a loose ball off of a BearKatz turnover and Lions midfielder Javier Vazquez gained possession near midfield. He put the ball at the feet of Velazquez and the young forward did the rest ripping a shot into the upper 90 for not only his second goal of the match but also his league leading sixth goal of the season. Throughout the rest of the first half the Lions kept playing with high pressure in the front and a strong back line to limit the number of BearKatz chances with Lions keeper Israel Becerra only forced to make one save off of a shot on target. Despite a couple of additional Houston chances the score would remain 2-0 going into the half.
Coming out of the break the BearKatz made one substitution in its midfield, and on the other side Coach Pruis made no halftime changes. The BearKatz, as expected, came out looking to cut into the Lions lead and get back into the match. Instead it was the Lions who struck first in the second half and added to their two goal lead. Forward David Otoya gave the Lions a three goal lead in the 51st minute off of the second assist of the match by Javier Vazquez. Shortly after the Otoya goal, Coach Pruis made his first substitutions to bring in some fresh legs and looked to secure the Lions victory. Erick Suarez came on for Jose Alvarez and Douglas Membreno entered the match for Jesus Vidal. Shortly after the substitutions the Lions allowed their first goal of the match. Following a defensive breakdown BearKatz forward D. Garcia was able to get loose and put a shot past Becerra in the 69th minute to bring the visitors back within two goals. Defender Olivier Fillion was brought in for Juan Lozoya before the restart off the BearKatz goal to see out the end of the match defensively. The Lions would strike one more time before the final whistle. in the 86th minute Membreno would slot home a rebound off Giovanni Najar’s shot to put the Lions up 4-1 and essentially put the game out of reach for the BearKatz.
With the win the Lions finished the fall portion of the season with a perfect 5-0-0 record and earning the maximum 15 points and a +13 goal differential.
Although the regular TPSL season will take a break until February, the Lions will be competing in the first TPSL Texas Cup Tournament starting this week. All the teams in the league will be playing in this tournament with the finals being held at the Houston Dutch Lions Soccer Complex on November 23rd. The opening round and the semi-finals will be held at Maya Park starting this Thursday.