After giving the effort it takes to win, the Southwestern Assemblies of God University men’s soccer team had to settle for a 2-2 tie with the University of Dallas.
The Lions (2-2-2) controlled play during the match, dominating at times, according to Gerald Nichols, SAGU’s new head coach.
“I am so proud of our young men,” Nichols said. “Down two men (due to fouls), they continued to battle, attacking and taking the action to the other team. We won at playing the possession game all the way to the end.”
Some players think this was the best the Lions have played all season.
“It was a great game, perhaps our best,” Jonathan “Colocho” Ramos said. “Everyone played with great passion.”
SAGU scored the game’s first and third goals, both by Martinez. The host Crusaders were stifled throughout, except for two questionable calls near the box that drew direct kicks.
Each time the home team cashed in. A header by an unmarked player and a well-executed score allowed Dallas to knot the score. The first tally came in the 38th minute and the equalizer in the 77th.
Martinez scored twice for the second straight game. Nichols said this is a result of his strong play in the box.
“He plays very well in traffic,” Nichols said. “His upper-body strength and his quickness are definite assets.”
His first score came after Ramos drove down the right side to the 22-yard area. Ramos cut sharply to his left and beat two defenders. As a third approached, he deftly passed to Martinez, who was near the penalty arc. Martinez touched the ball once, then blasted the goal from 18 yards out, a low laser to the right beyond the keeper’s reach.
The second was similar, except the attack rose from the left flank. Midfielder Parker Sturgeon advanced toward the goal at an angle, split a pair of defenders and spotted Martinez to his right. Two touches moved Martinez inside the box, where he scorched a shot into the upper netting for a 2-1 lead 51:43 into the game.Both Parker and Martinez had chances to win it in extra time, with the latter grazing the goalpost with an attempt.
Facing an inspired University of Dallas (NCAA Division III) team the Lions battled to the draw while playing short-handed by two men through both overtime periods. They were cited for a season-high 27 fouls, doubling their previous high. SAGU had 27 in its first five games, combined. Dallas was called for 13.