If you doubted that the ESPL is entering an era of unlimited potential, then you need to check out what just happened this past weekend. There was so much scoring, some wondered if this was American football. Let’s get to the action!
The first thing that needs to be addressed is that last week, we erroneously posted a table with the header “Week 1” instead of “Week 2.” That was simply an oversight, we received plenty of feedback, and we have corrected the issue for Week 3.
The first match of the weekend was Gothica hosting Allen FC, and the reigning champions let everyone know immediately that they were looking to repeat as league champions by scoring six goals compared to only allowing Allen to score three. The visitors scorers were Patrick Tarken (13′), Shawn Rock (17′), and James McDaniel (77′). Gothica scored early and they scored often, including goals from Donovan Right (3′, 52′, & 56′), Simon Tarken (28′, 53′, & 54′), and Vaughn Terrell (85′). With two hat tricks, Gothica thought they would be the spotlight of the week, opening strong and finishing their opponents with definitive strikes.
“We weren’t messing around,” said Gothica team captain Simon Tarken. “Donovan and I both got hat tricks, we would have tried to get Vaughn one, too, but the clock just ran out of time. We are keeping this championship here and we are going to make sure that the road to being champions of the ESPL runs through Gothica.”
Then we saw the second match of the week.
Emerald United hosted Citrus LF and outscored the previous match by winning 8-3! Citrus scorers were Jean-Louis Pepon (26′), Nicolai Borloff (44′), and Kovali Anand (72′). The hosts kept up and really crushed Citrus towards the end of the match with goals from Dae Ho Park (4′ & 33′), Dzung Tran (8′ & 86′), Bill Lubiel (38′ & 42′), Edge Right (84′), and Trent Areonak (89′).
“We called the Citrus LF home office and asked if their club was going to show up for the match today,” said Trent Areonak, team captain of Emerald United. The media laughed. “In all honesty, though, they played well but our scoring really took their minds out of the game. We saw what Gothica did and decided we wanted to outdo them, so we did.”
Octagon hosted Halo FC in the third match of the week, with only Ghudra Nmamba (33′) scoring in this one. The home crowd was hostile towards the guests but that didn’t bother Halo as they worked towards their 1-0 final score.
One upsmanship didn’t stop with Emerald United, as Naval Armada hosted their 7-3 victory over Knightsquare set the high mark for the week at seven goals. Knightsquare scored via Freidrich Gunther (4′), Pedro Cruz (42′), and Claude Deveraux (46′) was their showing and wasn’t enough against the home side. Naval Armada had goals from Patrick Barnes (8′ & 91′), Yuri Petrikoff (40′), Alan Marquardt (54′), Matt Craven (66′), and Khan Galaxy (67′ & 87′).
“This squad is a championship squad and we are showing that every week,” said Horatio Antonelli, manager of Naval Armada. “We are undefeated, we have four of the best players in the league leading the way, and we are on top of the table at week 3. I think that we have a good chance to bring the championship to where it should have been last year, which is here at Armada.”
Did you think that was the best showing by a home side this week? You’d be wrong.
Shamrock Celtic, Patrick Barnes’s former club, outdid everyone this week by putting up a final score of 10-4 against newcomers Queensdaisy. The away side scored via Bart Hathaway (84′) and a hat trick from all star Shawn Alexander (29′, 41′, & 86′), who chose to come to a brand new club to be the anchor. Shamrock Celtic put in goals by Ron Terrell (2′), Marco Kaspazov (9′), Eric Stennon (40′), Keb Mogodai (47′), Arak Shemin (57′, 62′, 71′, 79′, & 91’… five goals from one player in one half), and Hadji Khan (74′). Team captain Arak Shemin scored five times in a single half, one shy of a double hat trick.
“Queensdaisy really put a focus on Shemin and Khan early in the match,” said Shamrock Celtic manager Ephraim Colton. “That opened up scoring opportunities for Terrell, Kaspazov, Stennon, and Mogodai that probably wouldn’t have been there. Arak was livid, though, and he wanted to drive home that he was not going to be denied and he almost scored a double hat trick on his own and dominated the second half of the match. Hadji mentioned that he was sorry to have stolen that one goal from Arak, who could have also put it in, but Arak said that no one should avoid the shot if they can take it. This is a team determined to show we were more than just one player who speaks loudly.”
Shazam CM hosted Real Olympia and ESPL fans were expected Shazam to up the stakes again with the scoring but were treated to more of a tactical battle as the clubs finished in a 2-2 draw. Real Olympia had scored via Francisco Perez (41′) and Louis Calipso (51′), while the home side scored via Taoufik Belbani (8′) and Carlos Marcos (28′).
“This was really a tough fought game,” said David Archer, ESPL commentator. “Shazam was expecting to be big talkers like the other clubs making waves this week but they came out and were really quiet in comparison. I don’t think this club can take the championship this year but they’ll not be rolled over, to be sure.”
Vulcan FC hosted Sporting Black Cats in another tactical masterpiece, with the hosts scoring the only goal (Jesse Davis at 12′).
“It’s nice to score the winning goal,” said Jesse Davis. “It’s unfortunate that I only had one goal, as it seems that scoring 3 to 8 times was the trend this week. Still, we got the win.”
The final match of the week was between Wordsmiths who hosted Tardis in the spotlight game of the week. The away side showed some weaknesses that Wordsmiths were all too happy to capitalize on. The home side were the only scorers as Wordsmiths scored via Russell Mantrell (12′), James Traceur (14′), Calvin Casey (22′), and Travis Trevors (32′ & 33′).
“There was a lot of talk about Tardis being the shining moment for expansion clubs,” said Jason White, team captain of Wordsmiths. “We shut them out, shut them down, and Travis even shored twice in two minutes. There is something to be said for established clubs.”
“I couldn’t have asked for more action than this,” said DJ Allen, owner and founder of the ESPL. “There was a lot of scoring, a lot of talk, and I’m interested in seeing where the league heads from here.”
Only time will tell.