Amarillo serves notice that July's 'Championship Weekend' in Wichita could be wide open affair
TAMPA, Fla. -- For those who thought the Wichita Wings might just march right through the Major Arena Soccer League 2 regular season and playoffs unchallenged, the Amarillo Bombers sent a message this weekend at Hartman Arena: Not so fast my friends.
After the Wings rolled to a relatively easy 11-5 win Friday against the Bombers -- a game that Wichita scored seven straight unanswered goals -- Amarillo turned the tables Saturday night, taking a 7-6 win over the Wings.
Hartman Arena will be the site of the M2 playoffs next month, with semi-final matchups set for July 17 and the championship finals on July 18.
With the signings of Major Arena Soccer League superstar Franck Tayou, along with his brother Uzi and another MASL star in defender James Togbahg, many fans figured that the Wings might steamroll the rest of the league en route to a title.
And while they still will likely be the favorites heading into the post-season, Saturday's performance by the Bombers was a reminder that 'Championship Weekend'' is in fact a wide open affair.
Just when it looked like Wichita was lined up for a weekend sweep, building a 5-2 lead in the second half, the Bombers rallied for five goals in the final quarter to take the victory.
Vitor Patriani started the comeback with a goal 66 seconds into the final frame. Anthony Powell then found the back of the net twice in the span of 61 seconds midway through the fourth to tie it, before Jamie Carillo gave Amarillo a 6-5 lead with 1:44 to go, setting up the frenzied finish.
Amarillo looked to have put the game away but banged one off the post with 40 seconds to go, creating a Wichita counter which Collin Lawter converted with 22 seconds to go. Amarillo was not done, however, as Kevin Machado made a nice move at his own line to create space in the middle of the field. He streaked into the Wings zone and let fly from about 30 feet with the game winner just nine seconds after the Wings thought they had forced overtime.
David Lucio led Wichita's win Friday with three goals and an assist, while Franck Tayou had two goals and an assist, while Benji Molina chipped in with two assists and a goal. Julio Vargas had a goal and two assists to lead the Bombers in scoring.
Amarillo will be right back on the field Saturday at home when they host the Omaha Kings, a game that will decide the final of four teams to make the M2 postseason.
Wichita, Amarillo and the Cleveland Crunch have all secured spots in the playoffs. If the Kings win on the road Saturday, they will claim the final playoff berth. If Amarillo triumphs on Saturday, the final playoff spot will belong to the Chicago Mustangs who have already finished their regular season.