Wings Look To Salvage Road Trip
HARD-FOUGHT GAME IN TEXAS LEAVES WINGS LOOKING FOR A WIN AGAINST RUNNERS
An oddly-sized field and a goalkeeper on fire contributed to the Wichita Wings falling to the Amarillo Bombers last night, 5-7. After two months of home games, the MASL2 team is finding out that things can be different on the road.
"We came out flat with a lack of urgency. We got our act together halfway through the second quarter and we battled the rest of the game," said Coach Roger Downing. "We had multiple chances to score and tie, or take the lead, and just didn’t capitalize. It’s really hard to win on the road, every arena is different, and everyone has a home field advantage. We didn’t adapt well tonight."
Orange Army members watching the away game on the Bombers Facebook Live feed noticed right away that something was different and a bit confusing. The field was smaller and had floor-to-ceiling plexiglass without traditional boards.
"Indoor soccer has a significant range of acceptable field dimensions, and they certainly play a part in how the game is played. The Wings, like the majority of MASL teams, use a 200 x 85 pitch, which is the largest size and ideal for professional indoor," said owner Blake Shumaker, who traveled with the team. The Amarillo field was shorter than Hartman but not by much, it was, however, very narrow. The width played a key role in changing the style of play. It forced a more physical and counter-attacking match, and it took us a few quarters to adjust. "
The Wings began the game in a big hole as the Bombers came out with an early 0-3 lead. The Wings got on the scoreboard with a goal from newcomer Lucas Sousa and by the middle of the fourth quarter they had pulled within one goal. The Wings peppered goal keeper, Jose Chavez with quality shots-on-goal for much of the second half. Chavez made several close and spectacular saves and prompted the Wings decided in the closing minutes to bring out Alex Moseley as the sixth attacker.
The Wings did score with the extra man on the field, but so did the Bombers - twice. That left the traveling team with a 5-7 final tally.
"In the end Amarillo’s goalkeeper was the difference," said Shumaker. "He made a few point-blank saves late to keep a one goal lead. Hats off to those guys for a big win, and we will look to solidify our playoff position today on a short turnaround in New Mexico."
But there isn't much time to analyze things. The Wings are already in New Mexico this morning and getting ready for their match against the Runners.
"We will change a couple lines around to try some different things," said Downing, who spent much of last week in practice solidifying his plan to rotate players and keep legs fresh and men healthy.
The New Mexico Runners, who sit in sixth place, will be gunning for the Wings and jockeying for a playoff position. The Runners have a goals-for average of +8.6 and a goals differential of -2. Going into this weekend, Wings have a goals-for average of +9.2 and a goals differential of +40 which leaves them in a good place heading into both games. But, the Wings didn't expect either game to be an easy win as these two teams like to get physical, as the first game in Amarillo showed.
Like last night, the next few games will leave the men in orange without their sixth attacker - the Orange Army. Owner Shumaker is confident that the extended slate of away games will be only positive for the 40th anniversary season and hopes that fans will keep tabs on the team during their road trip.
Wing fans can find out more about the live stream (it is produced by the home team) on our Facebook page as we get closer to kickoff. Remember, New Mexico is an earlier game at 4:15 p.m. today, March 1. Fans can also follow along as we live Tweet and post to Facebook with frequent game updates.