8 years later
Photo courtesy of the Dallas Sidekicks
It's Alumni Night and as the very special day occurred, fans were anxiously waiting until the clock struck 7 p.m. on Nov. 3, 2012. After eight years, the Dallas Sidekicks have finally returned to play for their hometown in Allen, Texas, at the Allen Event Center.
As the indoor stadium started filling up with die-hard Sidekicks fans, professional basketball player Dirk Nowitzki expressed his joy that the Sidekicks are finally back, as he is also a true soccer fan. In his video, he chanted, "Let's go, 'Kicks, let's go, 'Kicks!" Tatu, former Sidekicks player and now head coach, gave an emotional opening ceremonial speech that seemed to touch the whole crowd, which got all of the fans and the players pumped up to get the win.
Numbers showed that there were a total of 5,909 fans in attendance for the season opener, which would prove to be a very thrilling game. The second the whistle sounded off by the referees, both Sidekicks and the opposing team, Harrisburg Heat, converted numerous amounts of scoring opportunities and counter-attacks all game.
Even though there were no goals scored in the first period, both teams proved to the fans why they are in the league. Around halfway into the period a very talented Sidekicks player, Ricardhino from Sao Paulo, Brazil, pulled a bunny out of his hat, metaphorically speaking. The ball was traveling in front of the opposing Heat defender, and in what fans would call a cheeky move, Ricardhino flicked the ball off the wall behind the defender and soon ripped a shot once he saw the opening but squandered the chance. As the rest of the period came to an end, both teams were all tied up.
The sounding of boom, boom and boom occurred as the Sidekicks kept the ball moving around with some occasional through balls that were considered game-changing within the first five minutes of play. With crucial defensive breakdowns happening from the Heat, Carlos Videla found his opening as he stole the ball from poorly made passes around the Heat's defensive backs. Videla put away his chance as he successfully dribbled the keeper putting the ball away, making the score to 1-0 in favor of the hometown favorite. A blue card was quickly given to Shawn David of Dallas by fouling a Heat player from the back. Kiley Couch and Carlos Videla found some opportunities enhancing the score from 1-0 to 3-0 at the end of the second period in favor of Dallas.
About 1:12 into the third period, Sidekicks' Patrick Shamu scored. For as little as Shamu was in, there was a huge impact due to his fire and intensity shown. Even though the Heat kept very little possession in the third period, they found their chance at the top of the key with a nice upper-90 shot that was very hard for Sagu of Dallas to reach. This period, the Heat found their composure and held their own for the 15 minutes of the third period.
The final period arrived in style from both teams. This was the most exciting period due to the quality of play from both competitors. Not only was it not one-sided, but some of the most unbelievable plays took place. At 1:43 into the period, Franck Mbemba scored for the Sidekicks, which led to the response of a ripping shot from Heat that was sure to go until it swerved away. Later, Sagu had to leave his box to head the ball out that was just a couple of yards in front of the Heat forward. Heat soon responded with a nice layoff play from two teammates to score. Renato Pereira scored a layoff goal from Shamu in response with 2:54 left of play.
With 2:10 left, Heat gathered all of their players including their keeper to help out with extreme pressure, but Dallas held it down to a landslide 6-2 win on opening night.
Author's note: Overall, the experience of the Sidekicks game was an experience that will never be forgotten. Allen Event Center rose to the occasion and successfully completed their challenge with such ease that satisfied all of the fans' needs and even mine. I would definitely recommend attending a Sidekicks game in the future if you ever have some downtime on game days. There was always something to do, whether it's having a great time watching the game while music is playing or even socializing and making friends around the concourse. Don't miss out on buying a minimum $9 ticket that will satisfy all of your needs while attending the game.
Editor's note: Griffin Crocker is a student at Hebron High School.