The Texas City Stings got a late goal in each half and rode an excellent performance from the midfield and defense to top the Houston Northside Panthers, 2-0, in their Region III-5A area round playoff match Tuesday night at Henry Winston Stadium.
“Another 2-0 win — that’s impressive from the boys,” Texas City head coach Jerson Carrasco-Martinez, whose Stings defeated Dayton, 2-0, in the bi-district round, said. “We’ve been in the third round of the playoffs before, but this time we have to make a statement and see if we can get past that.”
Texas City was able to overcome a Northside squad that brought to the match both a strong midfield game and a formation that the Stings had never played against, Carrasco-Martinez said.
“That was difficult,” Carrasco-Martinez said of the Northside formation. “They were very good in the middle, and I feel like our guys can run and run and run and keep possession of the ball.”
Texas City controlled much of the action in the first half, and finally saw that effort rewarded in the 35th minute when senior midfielder Alex Paz beat the Northside defense for a one-on-one look at the goalkeeper and knocked a shot into the back of the net for the 1-0 lead.
The Stings continued to win the possession battle in the second half, and senior forward Juan Rodriguez Jr. caught the Northside defense off-guard and launched in a goal to give Texas City a more comfortable 2-0 lead with a little more than 7 minutes left to play.
Rodriguez Jr.’s goal no doubt eased some frustration after he missed out on two promising scoring chances earlier in the match.
The Stings nearly broke onto the scoreboard in the 11th minute when Rodriguez Jr. found himself one-on-one with the keeper, but the keeper made a great save to deny Rodriguez Jr. of the goal. Rodriguez Jr. also had a good look at the goal in the 51st minute, but his shot attempt slid just wide of the far post.
Up next for Texas City will be a Region III-5A quarterfinal match against District 23-5A champion Houston Sharpstown at a time and location to be determined.