by Lisa Sillaway

The New Mexico Runners are in town for a matchup against the 4-0 Wichita Wings. The Runners are 0-5, but don't expect the Orange to have an easy time on the soccer pitch. 
"The Runners are 0-5 but have a few games where they have only lost by a goal," said Coach Roger Downing. "A desperate team is often one of the hardest to beat."
The Wings' consistent and patient game might be tested against the run-and-gun Runners. 
"I expect for them to come out and play us tough.  They like to get up and down the pitch quickly. so we will have to be ready for that," said Downing.
One piece of the puzzle that has been missing this season is the fans in the stands. Hartman Arena officials say they are taking every possible precaution to help reduce transmission of Covid-19 - including extra cleaning protocols and masked team members in security, ushering and food service. 
"We only have a couple home games left and would love to see some more Orange in the stands!"
The Wichita Wings - led by Colin Lawter, Kevin Ten Eyck and Kieran Laking on offense - delivered a decisive win in the young MASL2 season against last Saturday night the Colorado Inferno. The beat-down's final score was 16-5 and was followed by a more sluggish indoor soccer game on Sunday.
"Lawter was great last Saturday, and I’m talking about defensively. He was in the right spot constantly all night," said Downing. Lawter also added three goals and two assists. "Lawter has been fantastic this whole season, I wouldn’t have expected anything less."
Also making fans happy in the first of the doubleheader was new player, Juan Zamora, who contributed with two assists and some fiery defensive play in his first outing in Orange. 
"Juan did great in his debut at target," said Downing of the former outdoor player who spent time on the pitch at Friends University. "It’s an extremely hard position to learn, but he’s coachable and picking it up quick."
The Wings also triumphed 8-7 in the second game of the soccer-filled weekend after establishing a solid lead in the first half. That lead vanished in a flurry of Inferno goals in the second, bringing the game down to the final seconds. 
 "We tried to give Sunday away there at the end," joked Downing.  
But, the curse of the doubleheader that haunted the Wings last season was broken with the win. 
"We will have to use our brains a little more when our bodies start to fatigue," added Downing. 
That fatigue was eased a bit last Sunday with a new player on the pitch. Thomas Morton helped shut down an Inferno team determined to put double-digits on the score board. 
"Thomas is our first-ever active military player and we are happy to have him," said Downing. "He came through our open tryout and has been working his way into the squad to get some playing time."
Morton brought the Orange in the stands to their feet when he first took the field, in recognition of his service but soon won them over for his solid play. The defender helped hold down the Inferno goal total and contributed to the Wings' Sunday win. 
Tickets for the 7 p.m. on Sunday January 15, are available at the box office at 8151 N. Hartman Arena Dr. Park City, Kan.


The Wings are not carrying any injuries into Saturday's game but have placed a few players and it's coach into Covid-19 protocol. 

Brent Hobson (OUT - C19)

Jared Robbins (OUT - C19)

Roger Downing (OUT -C19)