Posted On April 3, 2015 by PUSC
Dallas Cup game three for the boys from Placer United was a game that will live in the memory for a long time. It had everything you could possibly want from a high level competitive youth soccer game.
First, the night time kick off was delayed for over an hour due to major lightning strikes. At one point it looked like the Dallas Cup committee was going to tell the teams to come back the following day. One and a half hours after the original kick off time, the call came down for the tournament committee that it was now safe to proceed.
With the game on and a place in the Dallas Cup quarterfinals on the line, Placer United faced a top U18 USSF Academy team from one of the biggest and best clubs in the nation, the Dallas Texans. There were about 200 or more noisy Dallas supporters in the stadium.
The decision to play the game in the floodlit Richland College stadium was a good one, as the hostile crowd was corralled in the stands and not on the field sidelines. During the warm up the crowd was really getting all over the submariners chanting and shouting hoping to get Placer unfocused.
At 7:45pm the game kicked off and the atmosphere became electric. The boys in yellow seem to thrive in the atmosphere and quickly settled into the game as they pinged the ball around the night time moist field. With only 10 minutes elapsed on the stadium clock, the Texans goalkeeper was called into action and produced a big time save to deny Placer striker Kristian Heptner the opening goal. Steadily Placer gained more and more control of the game as they took advantage of the open spaces down both flanks. Both Placer full backs, Matt Carnafax and Zac Anderson, were now causing the Texans tons of problems with the timing of their runs in behind the Texans back. The only reason the score was still 0-0 was due to the Dallas goalkeeper who made string of fine saves from forwards Heptner, Loomis and Arnstein.
On the 30th minute, the score and the crowd changed as Thomas Arnstein curled a sweet strike beyond the fully outstretched hand of the Dallas goalkeeper to give Placer a 1-0 lead.
On minute 40 the game changed again. Placer U17 player Hunter Loomis broke free of the Texans back line and ran onto a neatly threaded pass. As the Texan goalkeeper slid out to intercept the ball, the players collided and remained on the ground. The referee rushed over to the spot and immediately summoned for both coaches to enter the field. From a distance it looked like Hunter was in a bad way. A quick decision was made and an ambulance was summoned. Within ten minutes, Hunter was lifted onto a stretcher and loaded into the ambulance but not before the referee issued Hunter a red card for a reckless challenge.
Upon sight of the red card, the Texans crowd erupted into cheering as they sensed an advantage playing against a Placer team with only 10 players. Coaches Gantt and O’Brien quickly reorganized the shape of the team to make sure to finish the first half with a 1-0 lead.
The second half started off with a bang when within two minutes the Texans were awarded a PK and they tied the game 1-1. The boys in yellow needed to be strong as the Texans backed by a frenetic crowd could now smell blood. The next 15 minutes saw some of the best defending by a Placer team ever, as time and again players threw themselves in front of crosses and shots trying to keep their dream alive.
The Texans hit the post. They hit the bar. Nico Figuero cleared off the line. It seemed only a matter of time before Dallas would score. But every time it looked likely, a Placer player stepped in with a huge challenge. With the pressure now mounting and the crowd getting louder some of the Placer players started to tire. It was going to take something special to keep Placer in the Dallas Cup. On the 80th minute something special arrived.
Lone striker, Kristian Heptner, received a ball surrounded by three Texans but somehow managed to swivel free. As he was getting ready to run towards goal he got tripped up from behind and the referee awarded a free kick. The kick seemed a long way out but Kristian felt confident. The referee blew the whistle, but Kristian took another minute before unleashing an unstoppable shot into the roof of the net. The crowd went silent and the Placer bench went wild. Placer United was one man down but 2-1 up with less than 10 minutes to play.
The remaining 10 minutes seemed like an hour. But when the referee finally blew full time it signaled the start of wild celebrations for a group of boys that refuse to lay down.
What a night! What a victory! Placer United moves on to the Dallas Cup quarterfinals.