Explosively consistent offense led to smiles and high-fives Saturday as the Central Texas Lobos crushed Shreveport United 8-3 in the team’s season finale at Shelton Stadium.
Even with the highlight-filled win over Shreveport, regular season struggles, stemming from a myriad of injuries and several close losses, proved too much to overcome. The Lobos (3-6-1) finished in fifth place in the West division of the Gulf Coast Premier League (GCPL) and out of the playoff picture.
For Lobos owner David Walding, ending the season with a win and heading into the offseason with momentum was a team goal he set before facing off against Shreveport.
“It was extremely important for us,” Walding said. “I thought we had a really bad game last week, probably one of our worst of the season, so it was very important for us as a team to come back and put on a good show today.”
The Lobos did just that as they scored eight goals in the match, which was more than half of their season output heading into the match. CenTex Midfielder Oscar Saavedra scored five of the Lobos’ eight goals, securing a hat-trick in the first half with goals at the 12-, 26- and 30-minute marks.
“It was very important that we wanted to close the season on the right foot, and thanks to God we were able to score.” said Saavedra. “Thanks to the teamwork out there, we were able to get a quick goal and put our best foot forward and score after that.”
Saavedra followed up his first half hat-trick with two quick goals in the second half when he scored on a breakaway at the 50- minute mark. Saavedra then capitalized on a deflection off of Shreveport’s goalkeeper for a score at the 52-minute mark. The Lobos added three more goals in the second half with excellent shots by Andre Wabulakombe (57’), Jose Alex Marin (81’), and Oscar Ramirez (91’).
“I think it was a question today of attitude and wanting to come out and play extremely attacking from the first minute of the game,” Walding said. “I told them before we even set foot on the field that we wanted to go out in the first ten minutes and score so we could start that scoring (run).”
While the offense was hitting on all cylinders, Lobos goalkeeper and captain Blake Lander led the charge on defense with highlight reel saves. Lander also effectively communicated with the back line to stay in position. Lander had eight total saves in the match.
“Blake is absolutely incredible, he is our team captain and he is the heart and soul of this team,” Walding said. “He’s just a tremendous goalkeeper, a strong presence for us in the back. He directs our defense and just makes us a hundred times better.”
Walding and the Lobos accomplished their season finale goal and now head into the offseason with a sense of pride, rejuvenated energy and hope for next season.
“Overall we had some positive steps this season,” Walding said. “Our hope is to just keep building on that and getting better every chance we get.”