By 3Ssoccer Media
Southern States SC continued their run of unusual beginnings on match days. The Stars, slated to play Tallahassee SC on the 10th, ran into severe thunderstorms. Both teams took the field briefly for warmups, but were quickly forced to take shelter. After multiple delays both teams agree to postpone and reschedule the game to the 11th with an 11:00 am kickoff.
The Stars and Battle Lions squared off for the second time this season. The Battle Lions being the only team to hand the Stars a loss this season. The Battle Lions showed why they are a top conference contender as they battled their way back from adversity to take a point home as the game ended in 2-2.
The Stars had an electric start scoring two goals in seven minutes. In the 5th minute of the match Harry Gardner won possession in the middle of the field, spraying it wide for Reece Harrison who was able to deliver a ball with quality into the box. He found Hoyos and, with a delicate deft touch, was able to settle the ball for Perez de Gracia for the goal. In the 7th minute, Harrison made another explosive run down the wing. He found a splitting ball into the feet of Torre who calmly flicked it over his head and was able to slot the ball home off the volley.
It was all Stars in the first 10 minutes of the game, however, the Battle Lions refused to give up. They showed why they deserve to be sitting towards the top of the table and how they have rightfully earned their “Battle Lion mentality” as they continue their “Underdog Season.”
The Battle Lions began to find their rhythm and imprinted themselves on the game. They began making the game more difficult on the Stars. As the game neared halftime, the Battle Lions were able to break through the middle of the park and create an excellent goal scoring chance. Their effort was parried by Stars goal keeper Gabriel Perrotta. The Stars dealt with the ensuing corner well, but it was evident the Battle Lions were applying pressure as they looked to claw back from their two-goal deficit.
The Battle Lions started on the front foot of the second half. They got themselves on the board in the 57th minute. They won the ball back in the Star’s half as they went towards goal. Bilal Mihoubi was able to finish off the goal and give the Battle Lions a chance to get back into the game. It was Mihoubi’s first goal as a Battle Lion.
The Stars were not going down without a fight as they looked to protect their lead and see the game out. They began pushing and looking for a third goal. The Stars continued their excellent play and had multiple dangerous passages of play. Hoyos, a NPSL Team of the Month nominee, had an excellent chance off a cross by Mason Walsh that deflected off of the crossbar. The Stars nearly taking back a commanding lead in the second half.
Tallahassee stayed resilient and persistent in their pursuit on an equalizer. They were able to find it in the 77th minute of the game. Stafford Dowling was able to provide an excellent finish on goal off a magnificently whipped ball in behind the Stars back line. Dowling left the Stars keeper very little chance as they equalized.
The Battle Lions had the momentum and looked to take all three points from the match by finding the winning goal, however, the Stars would not allow it. The Stars weathered the momentum and began looking to find a game winner of their own. However, the final whistle came before either team could, ending the match at 2-2.
It was an excellent standard of competition between the two sides as each looked to cement themselves towards top of the table. The Stars will regroup and return to action on June 24th in New Orleans.
Photo Credit: Shedaina Dieuveille