Toros delight home crowd in first ever UPSL victory

“I am happy for the win. I am happy for the guys. We could not have asked for a better night. We have so many people supporting us and thank God we can give them a win tonight,” said Hernandez.

WCFC captain Jose 'Toti' Morales delivers a strike during a Thursday UPSL game with Austin Villa FC
Dominic Burns/The Globe

WORTHINGTON — The Worthington Community Football Club knocked in five goals for their first ever victory in the United Premier Soccer League on Thursday.

WCFC won by a score of 5-2.

The Toros played Austin Villa FC which is the nearest team geographically in the UPSL Midwest West Premier Division.

Austin Villa FC started the match hot, and quickly won a free kick from an opportune spot on the pitch.

But Francisco Carcano’s shot flew high of the goal.


Goals have been hard to come by for the Toros. Prior to tonight’s matchup WCFC had scored just two goals in league play, while conceding eight across three matches.

In their first ever home match at Trojan Field, the Toros made a strong step in purifying their offensive woes. Wing-back Chris Cerda scored the opening goal roughly around the 10 minute mark. Cerda and the Toros offense benefited from a Villa pressure turnover — and for the first time in the UPSL, the Toros led.

Austin Villa FC and the Toros traded possessions throughout the game. But while the Toros were able to capitalize on some of their tantalizing chances, Austin Villa saw its scoring chances extinguished by hesitation, defensive measures and exceptional keeper play from Kody Honius.

Honius made strong clears and punches on high pressure free kicks. When Austin Villa played a long ball towards goal, Honius made no hesitation in leaving his net and clearing the ball off the field to slow down possession.

While Austin remained scoreless. WCFC added to its lead, this time from a Miguel Flores Ramirez corner kick which found the head of Prince Lebbi Jr.

While three other strong scoring chances for the Toros were incredibly close. Salvador Nava saw an early opportunity for a goal bounce off the left post. Flores Ramirez connected on a rocket of a shot that went just high of the crossbar. And Jose Carlos Martinez Escobar slipped as he was breaking free for the net.

“We had some more chances where we could have scored,” said WCFC co-owner and coach Eswin Hernandez. “We have noticed that our team is improving a lot since our first game and that's good — I am happy with that because that means our team is growing everyday.”

Nava found his first goal later in the first half as he beat the opposition’s keeper in a one-on-one opportunity.


An important factor in the improved offense? How the Toros moved the ball around the field.

“What I am really happy about is how we are moving the ball. I think our guys are understanding my concept — dont go long balls, just try (and connect) on short passes. We have been improving a lot on that,” said Hernandez. “Today was really important for us because we started winning. For the last three games we have always started losing right away and tonight it was really important for us to (score first.)”

The first half ended in tense fashion. Toros captain Jose ‘Toti’ Morales took exception to a high cleated tackle from Henry Tolbert which went uncarded.

Members of the Toros responded by tackling Tolbert hard in return when he had possession, which a yellow card was given.

Not a minute later, Tolbert dished out another hard and inexcusable tackle against Nava — which caused the WCFC forward to bleed from a cleated face.

A yellow card was given to the Austin Villa player.

Hernandez entered the halftime break and the WCFC locker room disappointed in his team’s reaction.

“When we had halftime I went inside the locker room and I told my guys, ‘We need to focus and do what we came here today and that was play soccer. We don’t come here to fight with the other guys and fight with the referee. We come here to play soccer, we have skill and can prove that,’” said Hernandez. “We think they understood me because everybody calmed down and they came back with a different mentality in the second half.”


Austin Villa scored its first goal from a corner kick in the 56th minute of the match. Lucas Monteiro was able to connect his head to the cross.

But WCFC responded with an immediate goal in the 58th minute from Miguel Perdomo Moreno, who was subbed on for Nava.

Lebbi added his second goal — for his second ever brace in the UPSL — as the Toros worked from left sideline to right sideline and back again to the left in a sustained offensive possession.

Prince Lebbi Jr celebrates with teammates after scoring his second goal in a Thursday game with Austin Villa FC
Dominic Burns/The Globe

“With the second goal from Prince we moved the ball from one side of the field to the other side of the field and then go back to (the original) side of the field,” Hernandez said. “That means we were crossing the ball really, really nice.”

Flores Ramirez and Martinez Escobar played strong games in the center for the Toros.

Austin Villa added a late goal from the foot of Leonardo Hernandez. But the abundant Toros faithful were more than satisfied with the team’s performance and certain victory.

“I am happy for the win. I am happy for the guys. We could not have asked for a better night. We have so many people supporting us and thank God we can give them a win tonight,” said Hernandez.

Toros fans came out in large numbers for the first ever home game in the UPSL on Thursday.
Dominic Burns/The Globe

The Toros will have a one day break before playing in their fifth UPSL game on Saturday. The 1-2-1 Toros will host the 2-1-0 St. Paul Blackhawks at 7 p.m.


The WCFC First Division team, nicknamed Los Dos, will play an earlier Saturday game at home with Rochester FC at 4 p.m.

Austin Villa FC 0 2 – 2

WCFC 3 2 – 5

Dominic Burns is a reporter at the Globe who covers general news and sports.
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