By Ozark FC
Ozark FC rewrote the club’s historical records in the final home match of the 2019 season Saturday evening, blasting their way to a 7-0 win over Heartland Conference foe Club Atletico Saint Louis. The win put Ozark FC in position to earn the club’s first-ever berth in the NPSL Heartland Conference playoffs with one match to play.
Ozark (2-4-3, 9 points) came out of the gate with a different setup than usual, and struggled to find a rhythm early in the match. The first 35 minutes saw a handful of chances for each team, with CASTL (2-5-2, 8 points) creating the most dangerous chances. CASTL midfielder Lennart Hein did his part to create problems for the host as he saw two of his first half efforts find the post.
In the 38th minute, Ozark FC made an early change in an attempt to open up the game, and Quenton Carey entered for the hosts. Carey’s impact was felt almost immediately, as he forced the Bluebird defense to play deeper, opening space for the Ozark midfield to take over the game. Giovani Bejarano opened the scoring for the hosts by burying a 44th minute penalty kick after Amilcar Gonzalez was brought down in the box by CASTL goalkeeper Grant Abbott.
The hosts from Northwest Arkansas took a 1-0 lead into the locker room at the break, and none of the fans in Har-Ber High School’s stadium would have expected what they witnessed in the second half.
Ozark charged out of the gate in the second half with increased pressure on the CASTL back four. The second goal of the night came from a series of passes down the right side of the field that released Carey down the flank. After breezing his way into the corner, Carey clipped a floated cross directly onto the head of Ozark striker Jacob Zamarron at the far post. Zamarron headed home with ease for his first of the night, but neither he nor Carey were done.
Zamarron added to his tally in the 61st when he headed home a Jose Castro corner kick to give the hosts a 3-0 lead. Seven minutes later, Carey added his first goal of the night when he received a 60-yard pass from Ozark captain Guilherme Barbosa on the break, then beat his defender, and blasted home from eight yards.
Carey struck again in the 78th when he took a ball off of the thigh of Zamarron and ran straight through the heart of the visiting defense to push the score to 5-0. Goncalo Verrisimo added the sixth on a rebound after a good save on an attempt by Leo Borges.
In a highlight moment of the night, the final tally of the night came in the 83rd minute when Borges skillfully dismantled the backline and found himself in front of an open net, but laid the ball off to Zamarron for the youngster to land the first hat trick in club history.
The seven-goal output marks the highest offensive display in Ozark FC’s short club history, while the clean sheet extends Ozark’s club record shutout mark to two games. Goalkeeper Dean Wilson made two highlight-reel saves to become the first keeper in Ozark FC history to record a shutout victory. After allowing 13 goals in the first half of the season, Ozark has only allowed four in the second half of the schedule.
The team is currently sitting on nine points for the season, which is a club record point total for an NPSL season. They will head to Wichita Saturday for the regular season finale. A win in that game would lock up a conference tournament berth for Ozark FC, while a draw could still get them into the tournament if they get help from other results around the conference. The first match between Ozark and Wichita ended in a 1-1 draw after Ozark conceded a goal to 10-man FC Wichita.
Photos Courtesy of Ozark FC