The Chicago Mustangs traveled to Minnesota on Saturday only to be welcomed by weather that was more mid July-like. With a clear sky, high humidity, temperatures in the 90s, and field turf playing another 15° hotter, it was truly a scorcher at Hopkins High School stadium. This 3rd league game for the Mustangs could have been a challenge. Instead, Chicago turned up there own heat on the TwinStars, topping Minnesota 4-0.
Understandably, the game did start slow, but the Mustangs Douglas Dos Santos Nicolau got things fired up in the 22nd minute by putting his team up 1-0. Striker Basit Kosoko, who would end up with two goals and an assist in this contest, delivered a deadly through ball to Dos Santos Nicolau who calmly slotted past TwinStars goalkeeper Sean Teske.
In the 43rd-minute TwinStars midfielder and captain, Karim Darbaki got into a shoving match with Chicago’s Trajche Lovstoski. Tempers flared but Kareem’s teammate encircled the midfielder to keep him from being shown a red card. Darbaki continued pushing and shoving his own players but he eventually calmed down after he and Lovstoski were each shown yellow.
Late in the first half TwinStars, Samuel Contreras made a midfield run creating space and unleashing from 25 years out only to see his shot go just inches wide of the Mustang net.
Chicago brought the ball down on the ensuing goal kick and tested Twin Stars keeper Teske forcing him to dive left and parry the ball wide.
Just seconds into the second half a foul was called on the TwinStars 30 yards out from goal and dead center. Jose Gomez for Chicago stepped up to take the kick and hit a wickedly driven free kick that beat Teske and put the Mustangs up 2-0.
Both the heat and Chicago’s Kosoko seemed to be getting the best of the TwinsStars when Cesar Perez was shown red after he took down the Chicago forward in the box and denied an obvious goal-scoring opportunity. Kosoko converted from the spot beating Teske high and to the right.
In the 62nd minute and a man down, the TwinStars took the ball down the right flank and hit a cutback cross that found the foot of Contreras. While his shot was on frame, it was weak and Chicago goalkeeper Bret Johnson was hardly tested.
A few minutes later it looked as if the Mustangs Kosovo, had his second goal of the match. The Nigerian forward was played a square ball across the goal box. He struck the ball hard from 10 yards out only to hit the underside of the crossbar. The ball caromed away and out of danger for the TwinStars.
Kosoko finally got his second goal when Dos Santos Nicolau returned the early favor. The defender who was very near the left touchline struck a perfectly curled ball 50 yards up the field and directly into the path of a streaking Kosoko. He finished cleanly from 20 yards striking the ball past Teske and put the Mustangs ahead 4-0 in the 70th minute.
The Mustangs win brought Chicago to a 2-1-0 record while Minnesota loss was the third of the season and dropped the team to 2-3-0.
After the match, TwinStars head coach Youssef Darbaki told his team to learn from their mistakes and move forward.
Mustangs head coach Jesus Flores was obviously happy with his squad’s performance. “We are building this team, but it’s a good team. As you could see the spark of this team is the young players – the rookies.”
Chicago Mustangs team contact Ermanno Rossi also spoke after the match. “We are building a developmental team,” said Rossi. “We are looking for players to progress across to our professional indoor team. We joined this league because it’s going to parlay in 2018 to NPSL Pro, which will all be in line with division two of the NASL.”
Kosoko reflected on his team’s 4-0 win. “We lost our first conference game to Milwaukee, but we were still trying to get to know each other. Since then we’ve played a couple of good games,” explained Kosovo. “As you can see, we enjoy the game and we have some really good touches and creative passes. I think if we keep playing like this, we are going to be really good.”