The second-place Dutch Lions FC NPSL (8-1-2) and the sixth-place Shreveport Rafters (5-4-2) met in Conroe, Texas at the Houston Dutch Lions FC Soccer Facility on a steamy Saturday night. The game was very important for both teams as the Lions were looking to secure second place and a first round bye in the South Central Conference playoffs next week with a win; the Rafters could move from sixth place to fourth with a win on their end.
The game started out slow from both teams with chances coming few and far between. In the 20th minute Rafters FC was clear in on goal on a lofted through ball, but couldn’t finish past the Lions goalkeeper. The would ignite a response from the home team as the Dutch Lions would get a few chances themselves, including a goal from forward Carlos Acevedo in the 35th minute. The goal was a result of a great combination play between left winger Ahmed Zaky and Acevedo and a great near-sided finish. The Lions would dominate possession for the rest of the half and went into the break 1-0.
Both teams seemed to leave their energy in the locker rooms as they would come out slow yet again. The combination play of Acevedo and Zaky would prove lethal again when Zaky whipped in a ball from his left wing position, which Acevedo finished. The Rafters would pull one back in the 64th with a great individual play from Bryce Childers, who broke through on the left hand side and finished. As the Rafters pushed forward to press for the draw, Acevedo would find the back of the net yet again on a ball in from the left hand side coming from midfielder Mitchell Cardenas against the run of play. Acevedo’s hat trick would prove to be too much for the Rafters to overcome and the game finished 3-1 in favor of the Dutch Lions FC.
The Lions will head to Tulsa to take on a team to be determined later in the semifinals of the NPSL South Central Conference playoffs.