Dallas Sidekicks Drop Season Finale to Monterrey Flash
In what could be a playoff preview, the Dallas Sidekicks lost their season finale 6-2 against Major Arena Soccer League Southern Division rival Monterrey Flash on Saturday night. While the loss was somewhat disappointing, the game had no playoff implications as both Dallas and Monterrey have clinched postseason berths. Monterrey earned a week one bye and Dallas takes on Oxford City FC of Texas on Sunday March 1st at the Allen Event Center.
Monterrey’s stifling defense held Dallas in check for most of the game, although the Kicks did rest one of their top strikers, forward Nestor Hernandez. The Sidekicks’ high scoring offense that previously thrived by getting the ball at the top of the goal box to their forwards, where they either distributed or scored seemingly at will against opponents, could not get into rhythm.
One player Monterrey could not stop from continuing his scoring streak was forward Alex Megson who notched his 10th goal of the season on defender Fabinho Leite’s first of two assists for the game. Megson managed to score in spite of starting at his unnatural position of defender due to the team being short-handed in back with both defenders Kiley Couch and Mike Jones unavailable. Megson now has 17 points in 7 games played for the Sidekicks after the team acquired him in mid January. Head coach Tatu said of Megson’s impact,
“He is a great player coming in with experience. He played for good teams like Missouri and is at a different level. He’s doing a fantastic job for us. Hopefully he will lift the play of his teammates around him.”
Sidekicks Midfielder Ricardinho Cavalcante scored the only other Dallas goal assisted by Fabinho in the third quarter. While the Kicks offense could not get rolling, the defense did a good job of holding a Monterrey team averaging 8.5 goals per game to just 6 goals. Both defenders Fernando Garza and midfielder Kristian Quintana had fantastic games blocking shots and playing physical in back, but it was Dallas goalie Dejan “Milo” Milosevic who led the defensive effort.
Just 11:49 into the first quarter, Milo stopped a point blank shot from his left. The Serbian born goalie made another huge save during a one on one breakaway by Monterrey with four minutes remaining in the third quarter. Milo’s level of play has progressed substantially throughout the season and he seems to be playing with a high degree of confidence. He said of his game,
“The more games I play, the more my confidence builds. We played a great team tonight, and we missed some of our best defenders, but the guys played well in front of me. We have to do a better job in the playoffs, but I think we are up to the task.”
Dallas will need Milo to continue to play at the top of his game as his team hosts Oxford City FC of Texas next weekend. Tatu admitted to holding back some of his playbook while also resting some of his starters like Couch and Hernandez in anticipation of Dallas’ playoff matchup. When asked what the key to the Sidekicks post-season success will be this season, Tatu said,
“Winning the one on one matchups. We need to be quicker to the ball and beat our man. You have to be able to break down the opponent 1v1. Every game now is a do-or-die situation. The players have to look at themselves, play hard, and do their part. The years that we won championships in Dallas, each individual did his job.”
The Sidekicks have experienced plenty of churn and injuries throughout the season, but they have managed to make the playoffs for the third straight year. When this Dallas team has been at its best it plays unselfish gritty soccer. The Sidekicks’ chemistry has been great throughout the year, and as Tatu said, each man will have to look within himself to determine whether or not he is willing to do his job for the greater good of the team.
The winner of the Oxford City FC versus Sidekicks game will face the number one seed Monterrey at Arena Monterrey on Sunday, March 8th to decide who advances out of the Southern Division. Tickets for all Dallas Sidekicks home games start at just $9 and 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