Dallas Sidekicks Cameron Brown and Freddy Moojen Net Hat Tricks While Nestor Hernandez Returns in Win Over Tulsa Revolution
The defensively short handed Dallas Sidekicks defeated the Tulsa Revolution 12-4 on Sunday while earning their sixth straight win and improving to 6-1 on the season, which is good for second place in Major Arena Soccer League’s Southern Division. Goalkeeper Dejan “Milo” Milosevic made his victorious season debut while defenders Cody Ellis (red card), Fabinho (ankle), and Michael Uremovich (concussion) all sat out which pressed 23 year Sidekicks veteran and current assistant coach Nick Stavrou in to play defender.
The seemingly ageless Sidekicks legend and oldest player to play in the MASL this season looked fit and active throughout the entire game. Stavrou said about his physique and the team defense during his postgame interview, “I join in practice every once in and a while, and of course played the last couple years, so that helped my legs out. I thought our defense played really well, but with defense it’s not just about the two guys in back because we want everyone to be involved with defending.” He continued, “In the first quarter, the offense helped the defense out by getting eight goals, and it makes it a bit easier to defend. We missed Cody, Fabinho, and Uremovich who are all starts that have gone down, but it’s a time for others to chip in, and I’m personally glad to do whatever the team needs.”
Stavrou did more than just fill a defensive gap as he notched his 180th career assist and 395th career point on forward Cameron Brown’s first professional hat trick clenching goal in the fourth quarter. The goal was a beautiful play by Cameron who after Stavrou passed to him was pinned momentarily with the ball in the right corner. However, Brown made a quick reverse spin move with the ball while tapping it to himself in the middle of the goal box and roofing the hard shot over the outstretched arms of Tulsa goalie Christopher Hansmann.
The Garland, Texas native and Naaman Forest High School alumni said of his three goals, “It was a great feeling to get the hat trick because I’ve been working hard all season. I only took three shots all night, and all three went in, so I feel very fortunate.” Brown humbly deflected praise to his teammates saying, “It was really a great overall performance for the team. I wouldn’t have gotten the hat trick without the passes I received. I give all the credit to my teammates because if it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t have had those goals. It’s a special night for my family and I.”
Another Sidekicks player who continues to score goals is forward Freddy Moojen who netted his hat trick in the first quarter. The crafty Brazilian has been an outstanding addition to the Sidekicks this season notching ten points in five games. Moojen told reporters, “I’m happy to help the team. They brought me here to score goals. The guys have really welcomed me, so it feels good to be here. I’ve been training hard trying to improve, and I believe the team is showing improvement game after game.”
The player who ended up with the most points on the night (2 goals 3 assists) and received the Champion’s Edge Player of the Game Award was speedy midfielder Shaun David. With his five points on Sunday, David now leads the Sidekicks this season in points and is eleventh in the MASL with 19 overall. Shaun has transitioned to his new midfield position beautifully having played forward in previous years. He is a danger to score any time he is given space and his ability to distribute the ball is a true weapon as evidenced by his 10 assists which is the fifth most in the league.
Finally, the Dallas Sidekicks offense received a major boost when they got the MASL 2013-2014 season’s fifth leading scorer, forward Nestor Hernandez back in the lineup after suffering a knee injury last year. Hernandez’s presence was immediately felt as he scored a goal and had two assists. Hernandez said of his return, “I felt great and I was really motivated to play. I wasn’t expecting to play as many shifts as I did, but the adrenaline took over and I got a good rhythm off of it. It makes me the happiest man in the world when I play soccer, and after getting that first goal I did get a little emotional because it meant a lot. My family, friends, teammates, and coaches all helped me get back on the field.”
After his goal in the first quarter, Nestor threw the ball to a specific person and he revealed their identity saying, “I was throwing the ball to the people whom I owe so much to, and perhaps even my career, the folks at Elite Therapy Solutions which is the clinic that took care of me throughout my rehabilitation. I’m so thankful for them.” Nestor impacted the game not only scoring, but also notching two assists. He described his game philosophy stating, “I play for the name on the front, not the name on the back. If you play hard for the name on the front, then the back takes care of itself. If I can give out assists, make runs to help others score, and get the ‘w’ as a team, then that makes me happy.”
By the time 2015 rolls around, the Sidekicks’ 2014-15 season will be more than half-finished and the team will be looking to make a strong push for key playoff positioning as they seek a fifth indoor soccer championship. With the holiday season comes a crucial part of the Sidekicks’ schedule as they travel to Brownsville on Saturday, Dec. 20 and then Hidalgo Sunday, Dec. 21. The next Saturday, Dec. 27, the Sidekicks will take on the Oxford City FC of Texas in Beaumont at 7:05 p.m. The Sidekicks return to Allen Event Center on Saturday, Jan. 3 to host Hidalgo La Fiera. This match will be a special one for the Sidekicks as the organization will hold its second-annual Dallas Sidekicks Alumni Game at halftime, where former stars, including Head Coach Tatu, will face off in a scrimmage.
Tickets for all Dallas Sidekicks home games are available via Ticketmaster or by calling 469-200-GOAL. For more information about the Dallas Sidekicks, visit www.dallassidekicks.net.
Follow Matt Thornton on Twitter: @MattsCowboys