Winning Weekend Recap: Sidekicks defeat Baltimore and Milwaukee at Home

by LF Payne

A two game homestand provides an opportunity for the Sidekicks to rebound from last week's loss against the Kansas City Comets. The fun-filled weekend wrought thrilling soccer and nailbiting excitement.

First, the Dallas Sidekicks host the Baltimore Blast on January 14 for Retro Night at the Credit Union of Texas Event Center. Sidekicks legends are honored before the game, and the teams dawn throwback jerseys to mark the occasion. 

The first period is slow paced and evenly matched, featuring a total of five shots on goal. Late in the period, a scoring opportunity is broken up with seconds left on the clock. Sidekick veteran, Jamie Lovegrove dumps the ball off to defender Kristian Quintana in the neutral zone and takes off downfield, Quintana launches the ball to De Sousa in the corner, who heads it back to Lovegrove in front of the net. Lovegrove is tackled by Blast goalkeeper William Vanzela. No foul is called and play continues. Seconds later, Blast forward Jamie Thomas trips David Ortiz as they fight for possession along the far touchline. 

With four seconds remaining in the first period, Kicks head coach Ricardinho Calvalcante pulls netminder Juan Gamboa and adds an extra attacker for the setpiece opportunity. Cody Ellis executes a well-timed screen on Vanzela as Lovegrove delivers a lazer through the crowded box, into center net. 1-0 Sidekicks.

Midway through the second period, Jonatas Melo, Baltimore forward, kicks a lob shot from beyond midfield. Gamboa leaps, the ball bounces off the crossbar, Gamboa turns to brace for impact, and the ball ricochetes off his right heel and into the net. Tie game. 1-1.

With 5:35 left in the half, the Sidekicks create a 2 on 1 opportunity. Lovegrove passes across to defenseman Mike Jones who delivers a one-timer beyond the reach of Vanzela. 2-1 Sidekicks.

In the final minute of the second quarter, #9 Jeff Michaud of the Blast is called for pushing against Oscar Romero, setting up a powerplay and setpiece opportunity. Lovegrove on the ball, makes a quick pass off to Morales in the corner, who sets up De Sousa in the crease to finish the play. 3-1 Sidekicks.

Following the halftime festivities, a quick second half goal from defender Jereme Raley shifts the momentum solidly in Balimore's favor. 3-2 Sidekicks.

With 9:09 remaining the third period, Sidekick midfielder/defender Julio Varela turns the ball over to Lucas Roque, who passes off the board. Gamboa recovers the loose ball amid contact from Jamie Thomas. Powerplay Dallas. 

With thirty seconds left in the powerplay, Lovegrove collects the rebound from Piedra's shot off the boards and delivers a one-timer from the near corner. 4-2 Kicks, 7:35 left in the third period. 

Early in the fourth quarter, David Ortiz is called for tripping, and Baltimore is awarded a one man advantage. A beautiful diving save to Gamboa's right and a sliding save on a point blank attempt by Roque hold the lead for Dallas. 

With 10:25 on the clock, Ortiz takes an elbow above the shoulders from Baltimore's Mike Deasel. Powerplay Dallas. Lovegrove fires a shot from the yellow line. It's redirected, ever so slightly, off of Ellis' rear end, and into the net. Lovegrove is credited with an assist.  

Baltimore brings out a sixth attacker with 7:12 left in regulation. Dallas begins to play very conservatively, attempting to keep the ball away from the Baltimore Blast. But Baltimore is relentless and bombards Gamboa with shot after shot on goal. Following a string of remarkable saves, Jeff Michaud, defender, eventually scores. 5-3 Sidekicks.

Baltimore continues to pressure Dallas and dominate the offensive zone. With 2:51 to go, Mike Jones fails to clear the ball and turns it over to midfielder Tony Donatelli, who delivers a strike into the upper right hand corner of the net. 5-4 Dallas.  

The Sidekicks flail down the stretch. Incessant turnovers fill the arena with panic, but a steal by Quintana and a block by Cody Ellis save the game for Dallas. 

Sidekicks stave off the Blast 5-4.

The Sidekicks were outshot 16-2 in the second half, but made the most of their opportunities, scoring goals on both attempts. Midfielder, Jamie Lovegrove, of Crawley, England, contributed an amazing performance. Two goals and two assists earned him the man of the match. Meanwhile, goaltender Juan Gamboa, proved once again to be a valuable asset, amassing a .789 save percentage. And finally, the Kicks dominated on special teams: 3 for 3 on the powerplay, and 4 for 4 on the penalty kill.

After a well deserved rest day, the Sidekicks welcome the Milwaukee Wave to town for a Sunday Funday on January 16.

Milwaukee opens the scoring in the first quarter. Defender Derek Huffman jukes to the inside of veteran defender Cody Ellis and delivers a quick left-footer past Juan Gamboa. 1-0 Wave.

Halfway through the second quarter, Sidekick's midfielder Gustavo Piedra feeds a pass to Felipe Silva. Silva, a defender, gathers the ball and, falling to ground, pokes a shot from in front of the arc into the corner of goal. 1-1.

Within minutes, the Wave respond. Defender Tyler Turner passes off the boards to Huffman, who slots in a goal. 2-1 Wave.

Kick's captain Kristian Quintana executes an excellent tackle at the referee's crease, but it's called a foul. The play sets up an opportunity for Wave defender Marcio Leite who fires a shot past Gamboa to the far post with 2:43 left on the clock.  

With 1:22 remaining in the half, Sidekick forward Bradlee Baladez passes to Julio Varela at the far touchline, to Macias in the arc, back to Varela on the near side of the box, across to Baladez, wide open at the back post to finish the play. 3-2 Wave.

Huffman, behind the Kicks' defense, alone in the corner, receives the ball and passes to star forward Ian Bennett in front of the net. Bennett shoots, it hits the post, he gathers the rebound and scores. 4-2 Wave with 11:00 remaining in the third period.  

A foul on defender Mike Jones at the 10:26 mark sets up setpiece for the Sidekicks. Piedra on the ball, passes to rookie sensation Luiz Morales at the top of the box. He turns, spins, shoots, scores! 4-3 Wave.

David Ortiz shoves Milwaukee defender Marcio Leite into the wall with 9:58 left on the clock. He is penalized for boarding and serves two minutes in the penalty box.

Milwaukee pepper the goal throughout the powerplay. The Kicks fail to clear the defensive zone and turn the ball over. Leite shoots off the boards. Bennett rebounds and delivers a goal just out of the reach of Gamboa. 5-3 Wave.

In the opening minute of the fourth quarter, Lovegrove, from the far touchline, passes inside to Morales. He dribbles into the offensive zone and hesitates, fooling Milwaukee's goalie, and passes back to Lovegrove at the far post for the easy goal. 5-4 Wave.

With 12:03 remaining, Ian Bennett flops to the ground and Cody Ellis is bluecarded for tripping. The missed call results in a powerplay for the Milwaukee Wave. 

The Wave score a powerplay goal with 11:43 left in the game. Forward Daniel Matos, from the yellow line, passes to Luan Oliveira on the right side who toe pokes a pass to Ian Bennett at the back post. Bennett puts it in, completing the hat trick. 6-4 Wave.

Milwaukee's Alex Bradley pulls Morales to the ground, setting up a setpiece. Lovegrove on the ball, taps to Felipe Silva in the slot on the back post, one-timer, goal! 6-5 Wave with 11:18 remaining.  

The Sidekicks empty their net with 3:21 remaining, and utilize Cody Ellis as a sixth attacker. 

With 1:18 remaining, Wave netminder Perrella saves a shot from Ortiz, but grabs the ball outside the box. The play results in a shootout and powerplay. Morales on the ball, dribbles, fakes Perrella, goal! Tie game. 6-6.

In the final minute, Varela passes off the boards. Romero plays it at the top of the box. A chip shot gives the Kicks their first lead of the night, 7-6. 50.6 seconds to go.

The Wave pull Matt Perrella from the net with 35 seconds left. Bennett shoots from the neutral zone. Save, Gamboa, diving to his left. 

Sidekicks win thriller. 7-6 final.

Dallas got off to a slow start; their defense looking sluggish, their offense...uninspired. But the tides turned and the Kicks fought fiercely, ultimately outshooting the Wave 25-20. They were outplayed throughout much of the game, but persistence kept them in it. The gamewinner, from Oscar Romero, solidified the comeback for Dallas, and earned the Sidekicks their first winning record of the season, 5-4.