After earning three road wins in nine days, to clinch their second straight PDL Mid South Division title, the Austin Aztex return to House Park this week for the last two games of the regular season – hosting the second-place Midland/Odessa Sockers on Friday, July 11 at 7:30pm, and the Houston Dutch Lions in the regular season finale, Thursday, July 17.
The Aztex finished their road schedule undefeated at 6-0-1, by beating Midland/Odessa 2-1 on Saturday, and Houston 4-1 on Tuesday. The win in Midland came on an opportunistic 90th minute goal by Chuy Cortes, after a scramble in front of the Sockers' goal; the Houston win showcased the Aztex' depth, with four different goal-scorers, and three other players getting assists. Aztex goalkeeper Devin Perales was one of those, earning his third assist in five games on a long diagonal ball that sprung left back Kalen Ryden behind the defense for the second goal.
The Aztex, now 10-1-1, are on track for the best record in the Southern Conference, which would give them the inside line on a home playoff bid. Playoffs will start the weekend of July 25, with the national final four being held the weekend of Aug. 1-3.
I'm scheduled to be in goal for that game on the 11th – in a pregame contest where folks get to take penalty kicks to win gift certificates to the Alamo Drafthouse, Paramount Theatre, and more – but at press time, reports coming out of the Chronicle office indicate that I may have suffered an unspecified foot injury, and may not be available for action by then. Fortunately, we have a backup goalie available as a late substitute – not Dutch keeper Tim Krul, but penalty-kick specialist Garrett Greene of 104.9FM The Horn, who hasn't allowed a PK goal in over seven years. Can anyone end that streak? Be there by 7:10pm to find out.
It's soccer; it's golf; it's – footgolf! The Aztex and the First Tee of Greater Austin held a media event Thursday at Harvey Penick Golf Campus (5501 Ed Bluestein Blvd.) to introduce "one of the nation's fastest-growing soccer crazes," in which you kick a soccer ball around the footgolf course, trying to score into oversized golf holes. Expect a further report next week.
See also World Cup Watch.