Murphy’s Law, mixed with a formidable Motagua New Orleans attack, played a vital role in the Central Texas Lobos (CTL) soccer team’s 4-1 home debut loss Saturday at Shelton Stadium.
But amid all of things that went wrong for his ball club, head coach and owner David Walding lauded his club’s fortitude as they went toe-to-toe against one of the Gulf Coast Premiere League’s (GCPL) powerhouse programs.
“Motagua is one of the best teams in the country. But this was a day where a lot of things went wrong,” Walding said. “We did a good job of overcoming that.”
Motagua (3-0) took advantage of an early CTL defensive miscue to jump out to an early lead. A shot from Patrick Lynch caromed off a CTL defender’s leg and past starting goalkeeper Blake Lander, which gave Motagua a 1-0 lead at the 28th minute.
Walding said the Lobos started off the match by dropping two midfielders to help the defensive backline.
While the move gave Motagua players too much possession, Walding said it was enough to stymie their attack.
The CTL mindset shifted several minutes later when Lander, the team’s captain and leader, collided with a Motagua player while trying to stop a breakaway. The resulting impact left Lander with a reportedly broken leg, which Walding said will end his season.
CTL turned to 19-year-old backup goalkeeper Jonathan Gonzales, who was playing in his first GCPL match. Gonzales said Lander’s injury was a “game changer for us.”
Despite losing Lander, CTL kept Motagua off the scoreboard and went into halftime facing a 1-0 deficit. Walding said Gonzales showed some nerves early on, but performed well in the match.
“It was something that messed with us,” Gonzales said. “But we gave it all our heart. They’re a good team, we’re a good team. It was a good game.”
But Motagua’s consistent and formidable attack wore down the Lobos’ back line. Motagua added to its lead when Caio Cruz booted a shot just beyond the 18-yard box for a 2-0 advantage at the 60th minute.
Roughly six minutes later, Brandon Shagnar scored a goal in front of the net to give Motagua a 3-0 lead.
Walding said he tried to switch formations, playing with only four on the backline, to give the Lobo offense momentum.
But the Lobos had to make changes after center back Brian Gonzales was issued a red card, placing CTL down a player for most of the second half.
“This was too good of a team for us to overcome that,” Walding said. “But they showed a lot of heart and a lot of fight, they didn’t give up or rollover. We did the best we could with the circumstances today.”
Motagua took a 4-0 lead via a Gino Ray goal before the Lobos fought back. CTL’s Drew Canales scored off a penalty kick for the Lobos’ lone goal of the night.
Despite the loss, Jonathan Gonzales said facing Motagua could help the Lobos improve as they take on Cabosa United June 3.
“We need competition like this,” Jonathan Gonzales said. “It makes anyone better. It helps a lot.”