ORANGE ARMY TO JOIN TEAM, WINGS TAKE ON SIDEKICKS
It's official. The Wichita Wings and their Orange Army will be invading Park City's Hartman Arena this weekend for action against the Dallas Sidekicks on Friday, Dec. 18 and the Kansas City Comets on Sunday, Dec. 20. Early Wednesday morning, team management received permission to have some fans in attendance - and eager season ticket holders have been reserving seats for the tournament play.
And the team is just as eager to see the fans.
"One of the coolest things about playing in Wichita is it’s fans," said Coach Roger Downing. "We have the best indoor fans in the country and our guys love playing in front of them. When you need that extra motivation and you hear the crowd behind you, you have no choice but go that extra mile to block a shot, or get out on a break. Super excited to have fans!"
The six-game series began Saturday and will continue through Dec. 20, with the final game in Wichita, Kansas at Hartman Arena. Ticket availability has been restricted due to COVID precautions at Harman for both the Dec. 18 matchup versus the Dallas Sidekicks and the Dec. 20 finale against old rival Kansas City. Tickets are limited and reserved by phone only for 2019-2020 season ticket holders. All requests will be filled on a first come, first serve basis. After the season ticket holders and team sponsors, the remaining tickets will be made available to the general public.
And first up this weekend is a longtime fan favorite. The Sidekicks organization was established in 1983, making it one of the longest-lived soccer teams in the States. The Wings and Sidekicks have clashed many times over the years - and this weekend, on home turf, in front of a crowd of Orange, the Wings are looking for a win.
In their first outing in the MASL Central Cup tourney last weekend, the Wings took down the St. Louis Ambush 8-3 in Missouri, while the Sidekicks opened up at home with a loss against Kansas City.
"Dallas provides us with different challenges that St. Louis did not," said Downing. "They are more 1v1 based and will look to take on our defenders more than the Ambush did. It’s crucial we get numbers behind the ball."
Wichita’s offense against St. Louis was led by Taylor Henry, who tallied three goals including the game-winner, and from Eduardo “Benji” Monreal, who also had a hat trick. Additional scoring help came from Alex Moseley and Peter Espinosa, who each posted a goal. And the defense was a penalty-killing machine.
The Wichita Wings are the only MASL2 team participating in the Central Cup tournament. The other three are from the top tier, MASL division. Taking on teams at this level and then coming away with wins is a thrill - but the experience and the time for new team members to develop is even more important.
"It’s important to compete and show that we belong (competing at this level)," said Downing. "This is a big stage and a big opportunity for our guys and they all know it. If we bring the same energy and effort and we had the other night, Wichita will be proud."
The players are also looking forward to making the Orange Army proud, said Henry.
"Just be ready to get loud, because we're gonna need their support this weekend,' said Henry. "Wings' soccer just isn't the same without the great fans."
To purchase single-game or a steaming package for the rest of the tournament, click over to https://www.facebook.com/MASLsoccer for more information.
ABOUT THE MAJOR ARENA SOCCER LEAGUE
The Major Arena Soccer League represents the highest level of professional arena soccer in the world. The MASL features teams across North America, with teams playing coast-to-coast in the United States, Canada and Mexico. The MASL is currently incorporated as a 501(c)6 not for profit corporation formed to promote the business and sport of arena soccer.