DUTCH LIONS FC NPSL ADVANCES IN PLAYOFFS TO PLAY CHATTANOOGA FC
The first half hour of action saw the Dutch Lions FC come out reserved, content to sit back and pick their chances while Tulsa Athletics held the majority of possession. Forward Dave Leung was threatening, but could not open up the scoring.
The best chance of the half came in the 42nd minute after Ricky Chavez forced a turnover. Chavez then played a pass to Leung who played a through ball for Thomas, who blew by his man for an open one-on-one with Gutierrez, but a save was made to keep things level.
Tulsa again almost broke the deadlock minutes later when Leung beat two players and the keeper only to have his shot saved off the line, his seventh of the half. The two teams would enter the half scoreless.
The Dutch Lions were the ones to open up the scoring. After two bounces, midfielder Aitor Iniquez de Heredia found the ball at the top of the box and stroked it in the top right corner. The score was 1-0 to the visitors.
Frank Gibson just about leveled the game with a monster header off a corner kick, but it went off the post. Dave Leung was there for the rebound, but Gutierrez was up for the kick save to force a corner. Tulsa would get a couple corners and free kicks from the sides, but would not be able to capitalize.
Tulsa’s break finally came in the 75th minute. Jake Schmoker sent in a beautiful corner, one of eight of the night, and defender Terence Smith came crashing in to head it home. It was now all tied up at one.
Tulsa proceeded to hit the cross bar six times throughout the night, but could not punch it in. While the ball seemed to evade the A’s, it had no problem bouncing towards the visitors.
Dutch Lions again took the advantage in the 86th minute. Mitchell Cardenas lined up behind a free kick just outside the side of the box and chipped a ball across. An attacker got a head on it hitting it off the crossbar; someone got another foot on it to hit it off the bar again and it finally was booted in by Carlos Acevedo.
The Lions held the lead for the last couple minutes to secure their first-ever NPSL South Central Conference championship. The Dutch Lions will now travel to Tennessee to face Chattanooga FC on Saturday, July 16th.