WCFC finishes final friendly with 3-1 victory over Sioux City United FC
The Bulls will begin UPSL season play on Saturday, April 29 in Maple Grove.
WORTHINGTON — The Worthington Community Football Club played its final friendly matchup on Saturday, one week ahead of its inaugural game in the United Premier Soccer League.
The Toros played Sioux City United FC, another community-based team that, much like the WCFC, has aspirations of semi-professional success. WCFC won the game 3-1, but the level of soccer played between the two clubs was ultra-competitive.
Sioux City’s team is still in its infancy, and has not been accepted into a semi-pro league. They have not applied to join any league yet, in favor of weighing their options. The UPSL is an option, and should they join, the two clubs could certainly change from friends to rivals.
The wind played a factor in the game, as did the cold, but the game played on. The Toros and Sioux City United FC both had scoring chances in the first half.
Sioux City had a breakaway chance fall apart in the penalty area, as their midfielder outran his dribble, while the Toros' own chance in the penalty area bounced right off the keeper’s gloves.
The Toros struck first and made their first goal in added time at the end of the first half.
Javier Garcia Bastian took a free kick just outside of the penalty area, after Sioux City United FC was whistled for a retaliatory arm tackle. Bastian used the knuckling wind to his advantage and rainbowed his shot high over the Sioux City wall of defenders before it quickly shot back down and underneath the crossbar for a Toros advantage. After a little play, the game was blown to the break.
The Toros had advantageous wind for the first half, and in the second half they had to adapt to playing against it.
Sioux City United FC’s offense pressured hard to take advantage of the change, and the first few minutes the Bulls struggled to get out of their own end. However goalkeeper Kody Honius stood tall in those moments, and when Sioux City United FC was given a penalty kick, he relied on his instincts and strategies to come up with a huge save.
“That feels good after you do that. I feel like saving that gives not just me confidence but the whole team confidence,” said Honius on what saving a penalty kick feels like. “When you make a mistake and then save it. You get the momentum back. A lot of momentum.”
The Toros did just that, they took momentum and then added two quick goals to give their defense the ability to breathe.
Salvador Nava García scored his first goal of the game on a long run to chase a through ball where he toed the line with being onside. García added a second goal after a Sioux City United FC defender misplayed a keeper kick, and lost the ball due to the Toros press. García’s second goal was on a rainbow shot that cleared an aggressive forward play by the keeper.
“Stuff is starting to come together,” said Honius on the importance of playing exhibition matches. “I think we are more confident playing together now, and I think we are ready.”
The Sioux City United FC team was good, and in the team’s first friendly against WCFC, the teams drew 4-4.
Sioux City United scored a goal late in the second half on a similar play to WCFC’s third goal. An aggressive press against a defensive player led to a turnover which then turned into a goal scored.
Sioux City United FC is coached by Edgar Ponce, who was a long time youth soccer coach. Ponce, who has coached in Sioux City, Iowa for 17 years, estimates that roughly half the team has, at some point, played for him when they were 6, 7 and 8 years old.
“The vision is to try and bring something to our community,” said Ponce. “I feel like we have a lot of talent there and we are kind of 10 steps back from everybody else. But we have a lot of talent and a lot of young kids, some older guys that can still play. The biggest thing is getting them all together and believing in the process of where we want to go.”
Ponce said he has appreciated the exhibition matches with WCFC, and not only for the level of play.
“You play somebody that is trying to do the same thing as you, so then you move forward with it and see where you are at,” said Ponce. “We played them once at home and we played them here, it just depends on the day.”
Sioux City United FC is co-owned by six members of their community. One of the co-owners is Jorge Rangel. Rangel said the goal for his club is very similar to the goal of the Toros — to provide an outlet and opportunity for area talent to showcase against larger markets, and larger cities.
“Hopefully we can develop into something for our community — more than anything,” said Ponce.
Sioux City United FC was a strong opponent for the Toros, who will begin their UPSL season play Saturday against the Maplebrook 58ers in Maple Grove. The game starts at 7 p.m. at the Maple Grove High School field.
Sioux City United FC 0 1 – 1
WCFC 1 2 – 3