FC Wichita’s season came to an end at the hands of the Midland-Odessa Sockers in a 0-1 defeat on Saturday. Wichita was playing in their second regional semifinal in three years.
The kickoff was moved back to 8:00 p.m. due to heat concerns but it made for a beautiful night at Stryker Soccer Complex. Around 80 degrees at kickoff, the near capacity crowd was excited about this matchup.
Once the game got underway, the feeling for a fierce defensive struggle was apparent, and it would be a grueling match. After no significant chances in the opening ten minutes, the teams were starting to settle down and then chances were being found.
In the 14th minute, a free kick off a foul near the left sideline meant Matt Clare would have a shot at producing a dangerous cross. Once the ball was hit into the box, Diego Serfaty would rise above the defense and head a ball that would hit off the post and out of bounds.
Another critical chance would come but from Midland in the 19th minute, which led to a great defensive stop by the backline of FC Wichita to start a counter attack, which resulted in a yellow being issued shortly after in the 22nd minute.
As the game got into the late stages of the first half, the teams would find some more chances but no goals. At the half with the score being tied at zero a piece, storms would play a factor, and a 20-minute lightning delay was issued.
Coming out of halftime both teams came out with energy and persistence to put a ball in the back of the net. In the 49th minute, FC Wichita would find an opportunity off of a Matt Clare corner, but the keeper would collect it quickly to keep it scoreless.
The most dangerous chance for Midland came in the 53rd minute on a through ball that led to Mark Weir coming out and challenging the forward which led to an offside call and both players staying down for a short time.
With the game getting through the midway point in the second half and both teams settling in for a tightly contested finish, it would appear that the game would be heading to extra time.
In the 89th minute, Midland would score and lead 1-0 when the FC Wichita defense thought the player was off but the flag stayed down, and that would ultimately be the game winning goal.
“Goal came from our mistakes, all goals come from mistakes,” Head Coach Steve Ralos said.
For FC Wichita the season ends with a record of 10-2-1, winning the Heartland Conference regular season championship, and the playoff championship.
“We can take a lot away from this, we have done the city proud,” Deri Corfe said.
For Wichita, the fans were great and with the support over the season the entire organization thanks you.
“We had fantastic fans this year. We hope to see them back next year.” Ralos said.