by LF Payne

Boasting a revamped front office, updated stadium, and a young, exciting team, the Dallas Sidekicks' 2021-2022 season began with tremendous anticipation and fanfare with a home opener against the St. Louis Ambush on December 4th. 

Dallas swiftly opened the scoring with a first quarter goal from rookie forward Luiz Morales, with defender, Mike Jones, recording the assist. A pass off the boards by Felipe De Sousa, and finished by Brenden Lee, extended the Kicks' lead to 2-0. The tides quickly turned, however, as the Ambush tied the game by the end of the first. St. Louis then maintained that momentum throughout the second quarter, scoring three more goals. 5-2, the score at halftime. After the half, head coach Pablo Da Silva brought in netminder Juan Gamboa to replace Estevan Vazquez.

Notwithstanding the adjustments made at the half, the Sidekicks continued to fall further behind St. Louis. A third quarter goal from St. Louis' Marcel Berry made the score 6-2, and early into the fourth, the Ambush were able to extend their lead to 7-2. Down by five in the final minutes, the Sidekicks emptied their net and brought out a sixth striker. Following an Ambush goal into the empty net, Dallas began to mount a comeback: Morales scored a power play goal, then two minutes later notched another score to complete the hat trick. Unfortunately, however, the rookie forward's eleventh hour heroics proved vain as the Dallas Sidekicks lost a disappointing season opener 8-4.

An opportunity to rebound came one week later when the Sidekicks hosted the Kansas City Comets. Dallas began the December 11 match with a dominant first quarter, which featured a goal from Oscar Romero, assited by David Ortiz. The second and third quarters were less stellar. The Comets scored two unanswered points in the second quarter and went into the half with a 2-1 lead. Kansas City then added two more points before Dallas finally answered with a goal twelve minutes into the third quarter, making the score 4-2. Two minutes later, the Comets responded and the third quarter concluded 5-2. The fourth quarter saw a second straight comeback attempt for the Sidekicks. Luiz Morales recorded a goal early in the quarter, and after a Comet response, added an assist to his tally on Bradlee Baladez's goal in the fourteenth minute. 6-4 the final.

On December 18, the Dallas Sidekicks lost to the Tacoma Stars, 8-3 in their first away game of the season. Tacoma got out to an early lead with a sixth minute goal in the first quarter. Dallas evened the scoring three minutes later, however, with a goal from Erik Macias, assisted by Bradlee Baladez. Morales then gave the Kicks a 2-1 advantage with a buzzer beater to end the first. Dallas failed to find the net in the second quarter and ceded four scores to Tacoma. Down 5-2 after the half, the Sidekicks continued to struggle. After giving up another goal, Dallas finally shown signs of life with a goal by Nago Mbengue to make the score 6-3, assist to Gustavo Piedra. Thirteen seconds later, Tacoma regained control 7-3. A Stars goal highlighted a lackluster concluding quarter, and the Sidekicks lost their third game in a row, falling to (0-3) on the season.

The Sidekicks were off to a tough start. Three losses in as many games secured last place in the central division. Dallas needed a change. On December 21, 2021 Pablo Da Silva was fired as Head Coach. The next day, former Sidekicks player and assistant coach, Ricardinho Cavalcante, was named interim Head Coach, effective immediately.

The Dallas Sidekicks returned home to the Credit Union of Texas Event Center in Allen, Texas, for a rematch against the St. Louis Ambush. St. Louis scored twice in the first and kept the Sidekicks off the board, but Luiz Morales pulled the Kicks to within one with a goal late in the second quarter. The Ambush reestablished their two-score lead on a power play goal almost immediately after returning from the half. The score then 3-1. Jamie Lovegrove, in his first game since returning to the Sidekicks, scored on a penalty shot with seven minutes remaining in the third quarter and Dallas evened the score later that period on a shot by Felipe Silva which found the back of the net. Silva scored his second goal of the night three minutes into the fourth quarter. The Sidekicks had the lead, 4-3, and fought to maintain it. The thrilling match and complete team effort earned the Sidekicks their first win of the season. 

The Sidekicks traveled to Missouri the next day for the second game of their home and home series with the Ambush. The intensity immediately carried over from the night before. Dallas and St. Louis both came out aggressive, each taking numerous shots on goal to begin the game. Impressive footwork from Gustavo Piedra afforded him a scoring opportunity and his first goal of the season to give the Sidekicks a 1-0 lead. Luiz Morales and Jamie Lovegrove then combined on a well-executed 2v1 to extend the Kicks' lead to two. The Ambush were able to respond, however, and pull within one by the end of the first half. The Sidekicks relinquished the rest of their lead to begin the third quarter but adjusted quickly. Kristian Quintana, Brenden Lee, and Sebastian Mendez each scored in the third quarter. 5-2 the score after three. Dallas continued to dominate in the fourth quarter, scoring three times. David Ortiz netted his first two goals of the season and Luiz Morales added another to his resume. The Ambush responded with a late goal, but their efforts proved inadequate as Dallas won 8-3.

Now looking to extend their winning streak to three games, the Sidekicks travelled to Wisconsin to take on the winless Milwaukee Wave. The first quarter saw Sidekicks' midfielder Oscar Romero open the scoring with a goal and the Wave respond with one of their own just seconds later. Dallas monopolized the second quarter, as Luiz Morales and Julio Varela scored one point each. The third quarter continued in like manner. The Sidekicks scored three more goals and only gave up one. Rio Ramirez, Luiz Morales, and Sebastian Mendez registered goals, bringing the score to 6-2. Lovegrove widened the Sidekicks' lead to five with a fourth quarter goal, but the Wave came back scoring three unanswered goals. Ultimately, the Sidekicks managed to hold their lead and edge out the Milwaukee Wave 7-5.

The Dallas Sidekicks are now (3-3) on the season, second in the central division, and are set to celebrate First Responders Night with a bout against the division leading Kansas City Comets (5-0), on Saturday, January 8, 2022, at the Credit Union of Texas Event Center.

The Dallas Sidekicks is an American professional indoor soccer team of the Major Arena Soccer League. The organization was established in 1984, is headquartered in Allen, Texas, and plays all home games at the Allen Event Center. Follow the Sidekicks at and on their social media. 
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The Major Arena Soccer League represents the highest level of professional arena soccer in the world. The MASL features teams across North America, with teams playing coast-to-coast in the United States and Mexico. The MASL is currently incorporated as a 501(c)6 not for profit corporation formed to promote the business and sport of arena soccer.