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Soccer Watch

By Nick Barbaro, Fri., May 16, 2014

Tony Rocha: You should've seen how he got this open.
Tony Rocha: You should've seen how he got this open.
Photo courtesy of Heather Schramm

The Austin Aztex got their 2014 season off to a flying start Saturday night, with a comprehensive 5-0 win (I called that score in my preview), featuring five different goal-scorers, and two real stunners. The first one, in the 10th minute, started with a gorgeously hit long through ball into the corner by Walker Hume (one of the 6-foot-5-inch twins from Westlake), a perfect cross to the far post by new guy Cruz Oronos, volleyed into the net by Chuy Cortes ("Chuy, Chuy, Chuy, oy, oy, oy"). And the fourth, still in the first half, was pure skill from Tony Rocha, a 20-year-old out of Klein Oak High in Houston: spinning out of a hard tackle at the edge of the penalty area, leaving two defenders sprawling, and beating the goalie from 15 yards out, ever so coolly. Actually, the whole team looked very calm and efficient; they had most of the possession, worked the ball around, and scored on all four shots they took in the first half (Sito Seoane and Andres Cuero doing the honors, with Adam Black adding one in the second half).

Man of the match: Tony Rocha. No. 2 Star: Walker Hume. No. 3 Star: Danny Frid. The Aztex are on the road this weekend; the next home game is May 24 against the Mississippi Brilla.

Meanwhile, as we go to press, the Aztex are playing the NTX Rayados in the U.S. Open Cup second round; the winner gets a May 28 date with the NASL's San Antonio Scorpions, which would be a blast, and the winner of that one will likely play either Houston Dynamo or FC Dallas in June.

Elsewhere, the European season is just about over, and World Cup kickoff is just four weeks off (June 12). U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann named his 30-man training camp roster this week, and the second-guessing and handicapping begins; the most notable exclusion was forward/winger Eddie Johnson, who scored critical goals in the qualifying campaign but has struggled recently in MLS. With the three goalies set, that leaves 27 field players vying for 20 roster positions, and 11 of those hopefuls are defenders, which gives you an idea what Klinsmann sees as his weak link. The U.S. will play three exhibition games starting May 27, before heading down to Brazil.

As I've done the past couple of times, I'll be compiling an expanded preview section for those WC issues (June 12-July 13), of both the tournament, and the watch parties going on around town. Is your bar having drink specials? Do you have the skinny on where the Bosnian-American community will be gathering to watch their Group F games? Let me know at soccer@austinchronicle.com, and I'll tell the world.

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