By 3Ssoccer Media
The loyal Stars fan base came out in numbers to support the team at the Oakes knowing it was one of the biggest games of the season. The Stars faced off against Jacksonville Armada FC U-23, and both teams had everything to play for. The Armada had multiple fans make the long journey to Hattiesburg in support of their team.
The match started with both teams showing each other a healthy amount of respect. Both coaching staffs and sides knew what the other was capable of and the quality found on the pitch.
The match began back and forth with no clear chances. The Armada pushed the Stars and took the front foot as the first half wore on. They found themselves in some good areas with decent half-chances. The Armada was able to isolate Stars defenders 1v1 at times looking to get into the box. However, the Stars defense was up for the challenge and came up with some early blocks.
It was the Stars to get on the scoreboard first. Santiago Hoyos had an absolutely fantastic game and opened the scoring in the 35th minute. Brian Torre delivered a cross on the ground behind the Armada’s defense. Hoyos was quick to react to find the back of the net with a sliding finish. The Armada answered back well and created some of their own chances going into halftime.
The Armada looked to continue the pressure on the Stars as the second half kicked off. In the 50th minute the Armada’s Toby McCallum had a shot go just wide off of the post. The Armada set the tone early in the second half as they looked for an equalizer.
In the 57th minute the Stars were awarded a penalty kick. A ball was whipped into the box from Torre looking for the head of Hoyos. The penalty was given for the challenge in the box. Hoyos calmly stepped up and took the penalty kick, delivering another goal. The Armada goalkeeper guessed right and got a hand on it, but was not able to keep it out of the net.
In the 69th minute the Stars were awarded another penalty kick. Stars attacker Gabriel Villafane drove into the box on the dribble, drew contact, and was awarded a penalty kick. Hoyos once again calmly stepped up and delivered from the spot. Hoyos completed his hat trick and gave the Stars a 3-0 lead.
In the 72nd minute Jacksonville answered back with a goal of their own. Miles Shanley was able to rise above the Stars back line and deliver a powerful header into the back of the net past the Stars goalkeeper. Jacksonville now had the momentum as they looked to get back into the match.
However, the Stars were able to find the back of the net again in the 78th minute through no one other than Hoyos. Now Hoyos had his fourth goal of the match. The Stars were able to add an additional goal in stoppage time through midfielder Benjamin Cam.
The Stars and Armada now look forward to playoffs beginning on Wednesday, July 12.
Photo Credit: Shedaina Dieuveille