AMARILLO BOMBERS GO DOWN IN HARD-FOUGHT WINGS' VICTORY
The Wichita Wings put on another master class in scoring, defense and fancy footwork Saturday night in front of a home crowd at Hartman Arena. The men in Orange took off to an early lead with two quick goals in the first minutes of the match and never looked back, ultimately defeating the Amarillo Bombers, 6-3, in a Major Arena Soccer League 2 battle.
And it didn't come easy, it was a battle of goalkeepers, strikers and more than a few blue cards, in the official beginning of an unusual MASL2 season for the Wings during the Covid pandemic.
"The Bombers are always a tough game for us. I thought we ended the half well and going in with a 4-1 lead was crucial," said Coach Roger Downing.
Amarillo came back strongly and energized in the second half, peppering the goal and making the Wings' goalkeeper, Aaron Parrott earn his pay. Parrott, coming off a outstanding performance on Friday night, repeated his win - with several spectacular saves.
"Every time we play Amarillo it’s a battle and last night was no different," said Coach Downing. "I thought we got into playing their style too much the first half, but once we had the lead we were able to slow it down and see the game through."
The slower pace and the more intricate passing and game play let one Wing shine. Kieran Laking took advantage of a set play to score his first of three - followed by a second from the same spot on the turf less than one minute later. He finished up his hat trick with a rocket in the third quarter, the last goal from the Wings, who held the Bombers to just three goals.
Can the Wings repeat their success today and defeat Omaha to become the champions of the Heartland Invitational Tournament? Coach Downing thinks so. But the team will have to work for it.
"Omaha will be a new challenge as they play very chaotic and at times are not in positions a typical indoor team would have. They play hard and reckless at times," Downing said.
Despite the hard weekend of play affecting both of the teams this afternoon, Downing thinks he might have a few tricks up his sleeve - tired, heavy legs or not.
"We have a few bodies that don’t have many minutes on them in this weekend's tournament and we plan to run at them today. We will control the pace and make them run until those heavy legs kick in on them, then we will attack."
All six games of the tournament will count towards M2’s regular season standings. Those standings will be based on a team’s winning percentage, a model similar to what the Major Arena Soccer League and other sports leagues are using in the short term since not all teams will be able to play the same number of games
Tickets are still available at Hartman Arena's Box Office, but please note that there are seating restrictions based on Covid precautions. With the current MASL schedule evolving month-to-month the Wichita Wings are not yet selling season tickets. All games will be sold on an individual basis meanwhile, with a prorated season ticket special expected to be available for the summer games, once those dates are set.
The games will be broadcast online via Facebook PPV for $7.99 per day. A daily purchase allows fans to watch two games and includes the Wings each day.