Dallas Sidekicks vs. Missouri Comets: Bright Spots Despite Kicks Home Opening Loss
The Dallas Sidekicks opened the 2014-2015 Major Arena Soccer League (MASL) season Saturday night facing the Missouri Comets in front of 4,008 excited fans at the Allen Event Center. Dallas fell to the Kansas City based Comets 13-4 in the Sidekick’s worst defeat since an 11-1 loss to the Philadelphia Kixx on February 8, 2003. However, the evening’s luster remained because the Sidekicks featured pink jerseys to aid in raising awareness for breast cancer research with Susan G. Komen North Texas. Fans were able to bid in a silent auction for a chance to take home the game-worn special edition pink jerseys belonging to Sidekicks players.
There were some bright moments for Dallas that the team can build on for their next game Saturday November 1st against the Wichita B-52’s. There were long stretches towards the end of both the first and second quarters in which the Sidekicks maintained a disciplined possession-style attack. During those two series, the team passed efficiently, made superb off-ball moves, and kept the ball in the Comets half of the field for over four minutes each time. Sidekicks head coach Tatu said of the possessions, “The game plan was to slow down the tempo and keep the ball. During certain times in the game we were disciplined and we had success.” He continued, “ The moment we started forcing plays and losing possession, we had problems. I told them during the game we are going to lose by 20 if you don’t keep possession of the ball.”
One player who shined for the Sidekicks was eleventh year veteran forward Shaun David. David placed a perfect pass off a penalty kick onto the foot of forward Cameron Brown who knocked the ball home for the goal 2:25 in the third quarter. While expressing disappointment in his team’s overall play, Tatu praised David’s individual effort after the game saying,
“I thought Shaun today was excellent. I thought he was disciplined and dangerous. I told him a couple of times he needs to be more selfish. On his assist, that was his play for the tap-in goal,” explained coach Tatu. “Of the four goals Shaun was responsible for half of our offense. If everyone played at the same level he did, it would have been a much closer game.”
David’s score occurred at the 3:19 point in the fourth quarter when he intercepted the ball and used his speed to streak down the right side of the field; beating two defenders and roofing his shot over the outstretched arms of Comets goalkeeper Danny Waltman. It was a brilliant individual effort and Shaun described the play post game saying,
“The whole game Tatu was talking to me about taking my chances. I was playing too conservatively trying not to make mistakes, and on that play I felt like here is my opportunity to do what I do best, go at people with speed, and I took it.”
When asked if playing together as a team for the first time, or rookie jitters played into the defeat, Shaun neglected to make excuses saying, “Coach’s game plan was to keep possession of the ball, move it, and maintain a tempo. The first game is always a little challenging for the younger guys, but us veterans need to do a better job of carrying more of the weight for the team. The younger players did well and got some great experience. We made some mistakes forcing the ball and the Comets countered and scored, but we can learn from those mistakes.”
Some positive results of season opener are that Sidekicks head coach Tatu has a better understanding of the areas that need improvement, veterans like Shaun David played well and are focused on cleaning up mistakes, and the game allowed younger players to gain invaluable experience. While a nine-goal loss certainly wasn’t what Sidekicks fans were hoping for to begin 2014-15, there’s reason to be optimistic about the team’s chances this year.
Follow Matt Thornton on Twitter: @MattsCowboys