Sockers FC’s Halil Yilmaz celebrates after scoring a first half goal against Irving FC in a National Premier Soccer League Lone Star Conference match Saturday at Grande Communications Stadium in Midland. (Chris Amaya|Odessa American)
MIDLAND Sockers FC maintained its unblemished start to the 2021 season behind big plays from its strikers and goalkeeper.
Halil Yilmaz and Alonso Rodriguez each scored a goal and Lukas Betz made key stops to give the Sockers a 2-1 victory against Irving FC Saturday at Grande Communications Stadium.
Although Irving FC possessed the ball for a large portion of the first half, the Sockers created more opportunities on goal starting with a shot from Yilmaz that rocked the opposing crossbar in the first minute of play.
He made his presence felt in the 22nd of the first half, finishing an opportunity in front of goal that to put the Sockers up 1-0. Morgan Miller was credited with the assist.
The lead was short lived as Irving FC pulled even thanks to a Joe Conway strike off a corner kick about two minutes later.
Irving had a chance to extend the lead after a hand ball was called against the Sockers with nine minutes left until the halftime break.
That¨s when Betz made the first key save by diving to his right side to stop a Conway penalty kick.
Sockers head coach Dave Jacobs knew he needed to make adjustments to his lineup after he saw the momentum shifting in favor of the opponent.
He started the second half with his two strikers stacked looking to take advantage of goal scoring chances but reverted to the plans he originally opened the game with.
Jacobs added his team couldn¨t establish momentum and the tempo it is accustomed to because of poor first touches and decisions in passing.
The Sockers (3-0-1) were able to break through in the 72nd minute off a bicycle kick from Rodriguez to put his team back in front.
It marked the fourth straight game that Rodriguez has found the back of the net for Sockers FC.
Rodriguez said he made a habit of practicing bicycle kicks, even though his teammates laughed at him for doing so most of the time during training sessions.
The Sockers held on to win the contest after Rodriguez¨s goal to secure a third straight victory.
＾You got to have resources because the game was super tight,￣ he said. ＾I didn¨t even think about it twice, I thought that it was the best option that I could have.￣
Rodriguez said his confidence is at a high level during the unbeaten start especially after seeing how tough the rest of the Lone Star Conference is looking.
＾The league is going to be super tight, but we have a thing that the other teams, I don¨t know if they have as much as we do,￣ Rodriguez said. ＾That¨s hard work.￣
Sockers FC will continue its season on the road against Denton Diablos FC at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in Denton.
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