After 14 games the 2nd USL PDL season for the Houston Dutch Lions FC came to an end.
The 2014 USL PDL squad was looking strong where the Lions had several players with experience from the 2013 USL PDL season that returned to the club. The Lions had a very successful preseason where all 8 preseason games were won.
The team kicked-off in Austin on May 10th for the season opener. With another away game that followed in Laredo the Lions knew that a good result would be tough in the first two games.
Austin showed to be very efficient and scored 5 goals against the Lions in the opening game of the Season. After this big loss, the Lions managed to come back strong when one week later, a 1-1 tie was brought back from Laredo (goal Lukas Simon). After the first tough away games followed two home games at the end of May. The Lions welcomed Mississippi Brilla FC and the Laredo Heat SC to the Houston Dutch Lions FC Soccer Facility.
In Thursday’s home match against the Brilla FC, forward Rimario Gordon received a red card just before half time. With a score of 0-1 both teams entered the dressing room where the Lions came out dominating the second half. After creating enough chances the home team couldn’t find a way to score. Two days later, when the Laredo Heat SC visited North Houston, the Lions dominated in the first half and got the 1-0 lead after a goal from Javier Vazquez. With Laredo Heat SC pressuring the Lions defense, the visitors could not find a way to score and the first victory for the Lions became a fact.
In the following 7 days, the USL PDL squad played 3 tough away games. The first of the 3 tough games started in Clinton, Mississippi, traveling to Laredo 3 days later and ended on day 7 in Midland. The Lions played a good game against the Brilla. The Lions controlled the game and were leading 0-2 with goals from Lukas Simon and Javier Vazquez. However, the Lions gave the 0-2 lead away in the final minutes of the game. Brilla FC scored twice leaving the Lions frustrated with one point where the win should have been brought back to Houston.
With a Tuesday game in Laredo, the Lions knew that the home team would be dedicated to keep the 3 points at home. With a 1-0 half time score, goalkeeper Charles Schober stopped two penalty kicks and a valid goal from Rimario Gordon was called off due to offside. In the second half the energy levels dropped and the Laredo Heat SC scored 3 goals more.
In the first game between Midland/Odessa Sockers FC and the Houston Dutch Lions FC on their 3rd away game trip, the Lions faced a tough loss in Midland. The Lions lost in Midland with 4-2. The team from Head Coach Marco Pruis had an opportunity to get back in the game with goals from Javier Vazquez and Rimario Gordon with still 25 minutes to play. Unfortunately the Lions couldn’t score another goal to steal points from the Midland/Odessa Sockers FC.
After the long trip to midland a much-needed break followed for 14 days. With 7 games left, 5 at home and 2 away games, the coaches and players were determined that opportunities in front of the goal needed to be converted into goals to get the deserved points.
A home game against the reigning PDL Champions was next, and a great game it was for the fans! After an early goal for the visitors, striker Rimario Gordon brought back the excitement in the game. 12 minutes before the end of the game a long pass from the Austin goalie dropped just outside the box in front the Austin forward who made the score 1-2 for the visitors.
8 days later the Lions had another home game. This time the Midland/Odessa Sockers FC traveled to the North of Houston. The game was very open, which led to a quick goal for the visitors and yet again no luck in finishing the opportunities for the Lions. Final score: 0-1.
The following travel was again, to Clinton, Mississippi. It was the first game of July and the Lions were eager to bring home 3 points. The team lost the last two home games but showed in both games to be able to create chances but converting them into goals was still a weakness for the Lions. In Mississippi it was striker Joe Jackson who netted his first goal of the season in the 5th minute. An offside equalizer by Brilla FC before half time made the game open to both teams again. In the second half defender Michael Stewart promoted apenalty kick that was given to the Lions into a goal. But the story of the season for the Lionscontinued to be having problems with scoring on the right moment. Chances were created but not converted into goals. 7 minutes before the end of the game the Mississippi Brilla FC scored their equalizer. The points were shared in an open game, which was a deserved point for both teams who wanted, and needed the 3 points.
After the point brought back from Mississippi the second home game of the season against the Austin Aztex was the next game on the schedule. In this game the home team needed to be in their best shape to get a good result. It became a disappointing loss for the Lions in a game where the Austin Aztex showed to be very efficient: 1-4. Midfielder Wessel Verhaar scored the only goal for the Lions.
After the loss at home against the Austin Aztex another home game was scheduled for the Lions. Again Midland/Odessa Sockers FC came to visit the Houston Dutch Lions FC Soccer Facility. The Lions started out poor where the visitors scored two goals before half time.
From the 46th minute the Lions showed a different kind of game, fighting for every duel and pressuring the visitors everywhere. Midfielder Wessel Verhaar scored his second goal of the season but it wasn’t enough.
The chances that followed after the 1-2 didn’t find target. The chances not being finished became fatal for the Lions that gave up a penalty kick to the opponents. The penalty kick for the Sockers FC made an end to this game, 1-3.
The final away game of the season for the Houston Dutch Lions FC was in Austin. The Atzex were already MidSouth Division Champions for the second year in a row. The first half wasn’t an exciting start. The home team found a way to score twice. After the break the Lions were very determined to score, as the rain started pouring down in the capitol, the Lions created chances and should have had a penalty kick when midfielder Wessel Verhaar was knocked down in the box. The referee decided to ignore the foul and didn’t give the deserved penalty kick to the Lions. The visitors took 5 shots in the first 15 minutes of the second half where the home team showed their efficiency again. Finishing the 3 chances in the second half making the end score into 5-0.
The last game of the 2014 USL PDL season was played at home against the Laredo Heat SC. Laredo needed to win this game in order to extend their season with at least one play-off game. In the first half the Lions scored a quality goal. After 17 passes, the cross from Rimario Gordon ended up in front of Joe Jackson who scored his second goal of the season. The Lions couldn’t celebrate their lead for long, just 3 minutes after the goal Laredo found target,where both teams went into the locker rooms with a tie. In the second half, the goalkeeper of the Lions had to step off the field due to an injury where striker Joe Jackson had to take his place in the goal. The Laredo Heat SC took the lead in the second half. An unnecessary penalty kick was promoted to the second goal, and after the goal a one on one situation was finished by Laredo and the game was over: 1-3 loss.
The 2014-year was the first year where the Houston Dutch Lions FC trained and played their home games at the brand new Houston Dutch Lions FC Soccer Facility. When the Facility is completed, the first big step towards success is established. When the Club House will be ready, the home of the Lions will be complete having a great facility for fans, players and staff.
The story of the 2014 USL PDL season is that the Lions didn’t score enough, changes were there for the team. The results were disappointing for the team where the players fought forevery game and showed great competition to every opponent . The Lions gave away 8 penalty kicks throughout the season which is way too many. Defensively the players made a step into the right direction. The players did everything they can to keep their starting position and showed great character. The Houston Dutch Lions FC is proud of the work ethic the team showed throughout the season, despite the results players showed improvement. The club is positive that some of these players will make the step into the next level! Whether that is into a college team, the Dayton Dutch Lions FC or a MLS team.
Top 5 Goals and Assists in the 2014 USL PDL season:
Javier Vazquez - 3 (1)
Joe Jackson - 2 (3)
Rimario Gordon - 2 (2)
Wessel Verhaar - 2 (-)
Lukas Simon - 2 (-)
Watch all the game highlights of our 2014 USL PDL season here.
Photo album of our 7 home games can be found here.