Players from Athletic Katy FC pose for a team photo before the club’s 2020 US Open Cup qualifying match against Houston FC. Photo: Athletic Katy FC
Athletic Katy FC survived a hat trick by Chance Arney, an electrical outage and two extra times to defeat Houston FC 5-4 on penalty kicks on Saturday night. The win propelled Katy to the Second Round of the Open Division Local Qualifying Tournament for the 2020 Lamar Hunt US Open qualifying. The game took place just two weeks to the day after Houston FC had defeated Athletic Katy FC 2-1 in regular season UPSL play.
Athletic jumped on top early, scoring three times in the first 16 minutes of play. Armando Mosquera opened the scoring as he stole the ball on a miscue by HFC keeper Rhett Box Rojas. Rojas had gathered a loose ball and tried to roll it to one of his defenders when Mosquera pounced on the ball and drilled it home.
One minute later, Rheem Osevwe doubled the Athletic lead slotting a shot past Rojas. Four minutes after that, it was Osevwe netting a brace in the 16th minute for a seemingly insurmountable lead.
Trailing 3-0 at the break, Houston head coach Bruce Talbot rallied his team to not give up.
Three minutes into the second half, Arney pulled one back, lasering a shot inside the far post past a stunned Katy goalkeeper Julio Valencia.
Down two goals, things became worse for Houston FC when referee Ruben Campillo showed HFC back-up keeper Josue Resendiz a red card for language and going nose to nose with the official. Resendiz had subbed on for Rojas in the 26th minute and kept Athletic at bay.
Down a man, Talbot turned to Cypress native Chris Gooding to man the pipes. Just a year removed from playing at nearby Cypress High School, and playing his first season of college soccer at Gardner Webb University, Gooding was playing goalkeeper for the first time and made one sterling stop after another to give his team a chance. Talbot said after the regulation period that Gooding was a tremendous player who cared the most about doing whatever it takes to help his team win.
Arney brought Houston FC to within a goal with his second of the night in the 86th minute, setting the stage for his heroics in stoppage time. Two minutes into stoppage time, Campillo whistled Francisco Medina a yellow card for a foul that occurred in the box. Arney, the Katy Taylor High School senior who completed the comeback with a penalty kick conversion.
Scoreless after the first extra time, the lights went out at Campbell Road Sports Park in Houston. The 15 minute outage gave both sides a breather, particularly HFC who had been playing down a man for more then 30 minutes. In the second overtime, Gooding came up big and Athletic came up empty forcing the match to penalty kicks. Gooding stopped Osevwe on a curling shot to the near post that would have made a professional keeper proud, followed by a kick save moments later that delayed the inevitable.
Athletic Katy FC’s Brandon Martinez ended the dream for Houston FC who despite playing down a man for nearly 45 minutes and one point down to eight due to a facial injury forced the game to PKs.
Julio Valencia, Athletic Katy FC head coach shared these thoughts following the win;
“It was a good game,” said Valencia. “Both teams gave it all and left it on the pitch. Missed opportunities and bad mistakes they were costly but getting the win is a great feeling and motivation for the next round.”
With the win, Athletic Katy advances to the Second Round of qualifying where they will travel to Lafayette, La. to take on first-year entry Louisiana Krewe on Saturday, Oct. 19. Kickoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. Eastern Time.