by Joseph Reina

[Omaha, Nebraska]  The Omaha Kings made their west coast debut last weekend, leaving a lasting impression after two highly competitive and entertaining matches for the Major Arena Soccer League 2. Omaha began their California road trip in excellent fashion defeating the Ontario Fury 2 by a score of 8-15 (Kings). But it was the match against the San Diego Sockers 2 that kept us all on the edge of our seats, showing that the Midwest can keep in step with the west coast’s number one seed.

The Saturday match against the Ontario Fury 2 took place at Upland Sports Arena, where the Kings set the tone with an incredible first quarter in which they scored six goals. Augusto and Sanchez both registered two with Rodriguez and Lira also contributing one apiece.

The Kings held strong during second quarter, seeing another goal from Augusto, as well as Tomaz Rossi with an assist by Morgan Penn. Ontario struggled to score consistently enough to put Omaha under any real pressure, only managing to get within four goals of the Kings after halftime. Both Gueye and Gonzalez were able to score twice for the Fury 2, but four more goals were not enough to make a dent in the Kings’ unassailable lead.

Omaha outscored Ontario in three of the four quarters as eight different players registered goals, five of whom scored more than once. Augusto finished the day with four goals to his name, as Sanchez, Mejia, Penn, and Lira all scored twice. Rodriguez, Rossi, and Alencar each contributed a goal as well, handing the win to the Kings with a final score of 8-15 (Kings).

Sunday morning the boys woke up early to travel to San Diego and bring the battle to the west coast’s number one seed. Both teams exchanged goals throughout a tight match, but ultimately it was the Sockers 2 who took the win of 11-9 in the last six minutes of the fourth quarter.

After going down 1-0 early, the Kings leveled the score thanks to Guilherme Alencar and would not trail again until midway through the third quarter. Both teams saw an intense back and forth match, as Omaha managed to score six goals in the first half, leading 6-5 at the break. Eight different players scored for the Kings; Manuel Lira scored a brace and Pedro Augusto scored once and registered two assists. Tomaz Rossi, Bobby Jaffery and Say Say also contributed a goal each in the first half, with assists from Murilo Ceruli and Daniel Zuckweiler.


*Photo courtesy of San Diego Sockers 2

Omaha entered the second half leading, getting another goal on the board by Morgan Penn, with the assist from Jaffery. Their lead was overtaken halfway through the third quarter though, after two consecutive goals from the Sockers Alan Crespo and Dallin Cutler. Omaha answered back with a goal of their own, by Augusto (assist by Ceruli) and entered the fourth quarter at a tied score of 8-8.

Leonides Mejia managed to put the Kings back in the lead with another goal, bringing it to 8-9 (Kings) in the start of the fourth quarter. The last six minutes proved to be a nail-biter though, as San Diego then managed to tie up the score and snag the game’s only two-goal lead with goals from Kevin Aviles, Crespo, and Cutler. The Sockers 2 defense held strong as well, as they were able to keep the Kings at bay in the crucial last minutes of the game. Omaha fought hard, but couldn’t overcome the three unanswered goals, which eventually settled the contest and handed the win to the San Diego Sockers 2, at a final score of 11-9 (Sockers 2).

The Kings went into the weekend knowing that they needed three wins from their final five matches to secure a place in the post-season and are now just two wins away from that feat. They will hit the road again this weekend for a three-game trip as they look to secure a spot in the playoffs. Omaha’s first opponent will be the Colorado Inferno on March 25th and March 26th, at 8:00 PM CST. They’ll then travel to Amarillo, Texas the morning of the 27th and play their last regular season match against the Bombers. Be sure to visit and follow the Omaha Kings on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for updates on how to attend and watch the game(s).

- Photography by Adrian Romero