The top two teams in the Mid-South Division collided in Midland, TX on Thursday evening, and Mississippi Brilla moved to the top of the division with a hard fought 1-0 victory. The win earned Brilla a crucial 3 points on the road, and moved their record to 4-1-2 (14 points). Midland/Odessa Sockers dropped into second place with a 3-2-2 record and 11 points.
The first half was a defensive battle with neither team able to finish their chances, although both teams showed plenty of attack in the first 45 minutes. Midland appeared to be the more dangerous team at the start, but Brilla goalkeeper Josh Christensen was up for the challenge. Christensen a number of saves to keep things level at the break.
The second half started intense and remained that way until the final whistle. In the 64th minute, Brilla’s Logan Mendez caught the Sockers’ defenders off guard with a quick throw-in that put Kellen Gulley in a 1v1 situation with the goalkeeper. Nico Corti, the Midland goalkeeper, was able to get a hand on the initial shot, but Gulley followed the rebound into the goal for a 1-0 lead for the visitors.
In the 80th minute James Gulley put Mendez in a similar situation, and Corti was forced to foul Mendez outside of the box to keep him from a certain goal scoring opportunity. Corti received a straight red and the Sockers were forced to play the last 10 minutes with 10 men.
Brilla was able to hold on and secure the road victory after a tense finale to the match. The two teams meet again in Midland on Saturday, when first place remains at stake once again.