By J.P. Terrasi/NPSL.com
The playoffs came to an end for Brownsville NPSL on Friday night, as the Lone Star Conference’s entry into the NPSL’s South Region Semifinals was dominated, especially early on by the stellar play of Southern States SC.
Southern States took an early 2-0 lead in the game and held that scoreline throughout. The new stadium at Paradise Coast Sports Complex in Naples, Florida was an amazing setting for both of the night’s matchups as Naples United FC and Apotheos FC were set to play the second game.
Southern States SC started off hot as they got their first goal in only the fourth minute thanks to Andres Perez. The Mississippi side led in time of possession early on with more shots and shots on goal. A few cramps and knocks made FC Brownsville make a few early changes in the first 16 minutes of the match, which definitely changed the look to the game.
Most of the play was one-sided in the beginning of the first half giving Southern States SC an early boost, although Brownsville NPSL did have a couple of quality looks at goal but unfortunately failed to capitalize on those.
Great play and high pressure by Southern States SC continued throughout the first half, and they were awarded in the 31st minute. Santiago Hoyos scored from a short distance, giving Southern States a 2-0 lead. Brownsville stiffened up though and played great defense for the remainder of the first half, not letting Southern States too close to their goal again.
While Brownsville definitely was on the back foot, they continued their stellar defensive play in the second half but really couldn’t get their offense rolling. The Southern States defense certainly stiffened in the second half and didn’t allow the Texas side to get too close to anything productive.
The southwest Florida heat definitely caught up to the players in the second half, and there were lineup changes on both sides. One more change was made by Brownsville, and four more came late in the game for Southern States SC. Both sides eventually got their second wind and traded shots more often in the second half.
Things got a little more interesting offensively in the game’s final 15 minutes as Southern States SC almost scored on a diving header from Hoyos, but the ball just soared over the top of the goal. Then, once again, Brownsville NPSL goalkeeper Grant Adam rose to a late challenge in the 80th minute as he made a great save, while Southern States kept up the pressure.
The final score was Southern States SC 2, Brownsville NPSL 0. After two early goals, the matchup was much more even. Southern States SC will now move on to Saturday’s NPSL South Region Final against Apotheos FC, who bested home team Naples United FC in the second match of the night.
Photo Credit: J.P. Terrasi/NPSL.com