AUSTIN – The Austin Aztex defeated the SW Florida Adrenaline 3-1 in front of a record crowd of 4,754 at House Park Saturday evening to advance to the Southern Championship game.
The Aztex looked to utilize their home field advantage and pounce on their opponent for a quick goal. After a series of attacking plays, the Aztex forced a corner kick against the Adrenaline. The Adrenaline were able to clear the ball away, however Aztex defender Mikey Ambrose controlled the ball and took a brazen left-footed shot from 35 yards away that whistled into the back of the net for the opening goal.
The Adrenaline would try to punch through the Aztex defense with a series of free kicks and long throw ins that would test Aztex goalkeeper Devin Perales. Perales would punch away the ball when it got into dangerous areas, but the Adrenaline kept the pressure on.
In the 37th minute, the strategy paid off for the Adrenaline when they took a long throw into the penalty area which was headed straight up by the Aztex backline. However, Adrenaline midfielder Kevin La Bras took a first touch strike on the rebound, which found its way past Ambrose and Perales to equalize.
The two squads battled through the first half in what was proving to be an even match. Aztex head coach Manuel Buentello chose to utilize his substitutes early in the second half by sending in Buba Jobe and Eddie Campbell.
Jobe, who scored two highlight reel goals in the Aztex regular season finale, would prove to be the right choice for Buentello as he scored the game winning goal in the 57th minute. The Aztex were backed up against their goal as the Adrenaline tried another series of throw ins, which the Aztex cleared away. Jobe narrowly lost a footrace to the ball by an Adrenaline defender, but worked his way around the defender to steal the ball and slide the ball past Adrenaline goalkeeper Arthur Claypot.
The Aztex would find their third and game-deciding goal late in the game when Jobe hit Eddie Campbell with a cross, who used great individual effort to work his way around three defenders but was unable to muster a clean shot on goal. Campbell’s shot was blocked and Chuy Cortes took control of the shot and ripped a blast into the back of the net.
With the win, the Aztex advance to the USL PDL Southern Conference Championship versus the Ocala Stampede on Sunday, July 27 at House Park. The game will begin at 7:30 p.m. The Stampede advanced to the championship game after defeated they Laredo Heat 5-3 in penalty kicks after a 1-1 stalemate in regulation.