In the first of two weekend matches between the top two teams in the Mid-South Division of the Premier Development League, Friday’s contest certainly lived up to the hype. While the scoreline may show a non-eventful 1-1 draw, the game itself was nothing short of dramatic. In the end, the first place Midland/Odessa Sockers (5-2-2, 17 points) remained atop the table over Mississippi Brilla (4-2-3, 15 points).
The heated rivalry between the two teams began last weekend in Midland, and carried over to Mississippi. It wasn’t long after play began that Brilla’s Ignacio Flores and the Sockers’ Manuel Lira were shown straight reds after some jostling in front of the goal on a corner kick. Both teams were reduced to ten men after only 20 minutes, but the intensity did not let up. Each team had a few good looks in the first half, but the teams remained locked at halftime.
The Sockers’ finally capitalized in the 78th minute when Jesus “Chuy” Cortez found the back of the net off of an assist by Josh Taylor. The momentum was short lived, however, as a lightning delay began just moments later.
The short delay was enough time for Brilla to make a few tactical adjustments, and the second place team came out of the delay pressing for the equalizer. The dramatic finish occurred in injury time as Brilla’s goalkeeper, Jordan Bell, came all the way up to midfield to serve a ball forward in one last desperate attempt. Sockers’ goalkeeper Nico Corti went high above the crowd to collect the ball in the air, but the ball slipped through his hands as Brilla’s Kellen Gulley went up for the challenge. The ball landed right outside of the goal and at the feet of Lucas Almeida who calmly placed the tying goal into the net.
The two teams will face off again on Sunday evening at 7:00 pm at Traceway Park in Clinton, where first place will, once again, be on the line.