Mississippi Brilla FC and the Houston Dutch Lions squared off against each other at Clinton’s Traceway Park in their first of four meetings on Thursday night. After six cautions, two red cards, and two lightning delays totaling nearly two hours, Brilla found itself with a 2-1 victory when the whistle finally ended the match.
As the match began four hours earlier, Brilla seemed to have its foot on the accelerator from the beginning. Manuel Saez found the back of the net in the 14th minute after a quick restart on a free kick by Eduardo Cruz. It looked as though the home team was going to put the game away early, but each of three scoring opportunities rang off the post.
Houston found itself back in the game as they leveled the score at one apiece in the 26th minute. Marshal Tucker’s pass found the feet of George Kelly who was able to lift the ball towards the goal while colliding with Brilla’s goalkeeper, Jordan Bell. A defensive effort to keep the ball from going into the back of the net came up a little short for Brilla.
Things got chippy just before halftime as both teams were issued red cards. The teams were forced to finish the game with ten men each as Houston’s Jorge Contreras and Mississippi’s Kellen Gulley were ejected in the 44th minute.
In the 59th minute, Sergio Royo played a ball through to Saez who slotted home his second goal of the night. The goal gave Brilla a 2-1 lead. Less than a minute later, the teams had to leave the field due to lightning. After a 20 minute delay, the match was restarted only to be delayed again in the 73rd minute.
After the second delay of nearly 1 1/2 hours, the teams were able to finish the final minutes of the match as Brilla escaped with 3 crucial points for the win. Brilla moves to 2-1-2 while Houston falls to 1-4-1.
The two teams will meet for a second time in Clinton on Saturday, June 20 for the second game of the weekend doubleheader. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 pm at Clinton’s Traceway Park.