Despite a hat trick and standout performance from Dallas Sidekicks midfielder Ricardinho, Hector Vallejo’s game-winning goal with 1:29 remaining in overtime gave the Rio Grande Valley Flash a 5-4 victory over the Sidekicks Sunday evening. With the win, Rio Grande Valley takes the advantage in Leg One of the PASL divisional playoff series. The series will conclude this Thursday at the Allen Event Center at 7:30 p.m.
The very first shot of the match resulted in an early Sidekicks lead, Renato Pereira striking just 1:06 into the game on a pass from Jamie Lovegrove. The lead did not last long however, a miscommunication from the Sidekicks defense resulting in an own-goal from Sean Bellomy to even out the score at one goal apiece at 3:34. The remainder of the quarter saw a few close calls on both sides, but the teams remained even on the board.
Another early goal saw Rio Grande Valley taking the lead for the first time in the match, Edgar Flores stealing the ball mid-field and scoring on Sidekicks goaltender Sagu at 1:23. Soon after the Sidekicks were awarded a shootout due to a tripping call, which Ricardinho capitalized on to tie the game 2-2 at 1:52. A few minutes later Rio Grande Valley was awarded a shootout of their own, Jorge Quiroz getting it past Sagu and taking back the lead. Just 25 seconds later, the third shootout opportunity of the match was given to the Sidekicks, Rio Grande Valley defender Jose Malacara also penalized with a red card and ejection for foul language. Once again Ricardinho took the shot for the Sidekicks and tied the game, the 3-3 result carrying on into the third quarter.
The third quarter was quiet until the midway point when Rio Grande Valley was given a 5-on-3 powerplay opportunity, Erick Flores capitalizing at 9:11. The Flash increased pressure on the Sidekicks throughout the remainder of the quarter, but the Sidekicks defensive unit held strong and the score remained 4-3 Rio Grande Valley headed into the final 15 minutes.
The majority of the fourth quarter was spent in Rio Grande Valley’s half of the pitch. The relentless pressure eventually resulted in Ricardinho tying the match for the third time, scoring at 7:51 on a pass from Cody Ellis. Despite a few great chances on both sides, neither goaltender relented and the match was forced into overtime.
The back and forth overtime period included several close calls, the Sidekicks successfully killing off a powerplay chance for Rio Grande Valley. With just 1:29 remaining in overtime, Flash forward Hector Vallejo shot low and made it through a diving Sagu to win it for his team and give Rio Grande Valley the advantage going into Game Two.
The second leg of the series will be back home at the Allen Event Center on Thursday, February 28 at 7:30 p.m. If the Sidekicks come out on top, the victory would result in a 30-minute mini-game which would be played 15 minutes after the conclusion of Game Two to decide the series. The winner of the series will advance to the Ron Newman Cup semifinals on March 10 in San Diego. The match will be streamed live PPV at www.americaonesports.com.
Individual and season tickets are on sale now through Ticketmaster. For more information, visit www.dallassidekicks.net or call 214-550-6130. Follow the team on Twitter @GoSidekicks or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GoSidekicks.