CULLEN FC MAKES HISTORY
Cullen FC made history on Saturday 18th August 2018 by defeating their fierce local rivals, MFC, to lift the maiden edition of Soccer League Network’s Houston League Cup. Although the season has been a long and drawn-out one, however Cullen FC’s rich vein of form has been rather impressive as they have remained un-beaten throughout the season.
The day started of with a buzz of excitement which was palpable throughout the venue. Fans from both sides continuously taunted and jibed each other in a fun environment, although tensions were obviously high. Cullen FC had recently gone through a rebranding process and the entire team was outfitted in their new jersey kit and new club logo. MFC, who are currently the most disciplined and admired team based on recent polling results, were on the field as usual before everyone else, performing drills and getting ready for the game.
Once the game kicked off, the overall play was a bit cautious before MFC slowly started dominating the game – particularly in the midfield. MFC basically won almost every duel in key areas of the field, and created a couple of chances for their marauding attackers. Unfortunately, they were unable to convert. There were also a couple of plays by Cullen FC which could have resulted in a goal, but didn’t. Once the referee ended the game at half-time, the Cullen FC team members were obviously relieved.
The second half started with both teams making a few tactical changes to their line ups. Of note in particular, was the decision by Cullen FC’s Coach (Dayo Brown) to retain the attacking trident of Daddy, Rasheed and Yomi, and switch out the roles of other key players. Post-match feedback from the players indicated these decisions were largely unpopular. However, it turned out to be the right formula for what Cullen lacked in the first half.
From the 70th minute, Cullen FC’s influence and confidence slowly grew. The midfielders won more of the balls and were able to lay passes to the the attacking trio of Daddy, Rasheed and Yomi who constantly stretched the defenders on both ends of the field with skill and sheer pace. It was during one of these occassions the ball was passed to Daddy on the right wing who then stepped up with a few touches, did a quick shimmy which created some space and buried the ball in the near post past the goal keeper. The entire section of Cullen FC’s fans erupted with joy and relief once the deadlock was broken.
The game continued and MFC piled on more pressure on Cullen’s back-four, who defended well. The second goal game shortly after when a similar pass was laid to Daddy and smashed a shot into the same side of the goal post. MFC remained unfazed and stuck to their plan by piling on the pressure. There was a free kick attempt which hit the far post and several plays afterwards, the had a lucky break when a penalty was awarded against Cullen FC. Ugo Onyeabo, Cullen FC’s keeper was able to demonstrate why he maintains the top spot for the highest clean sheets in the tournament. He read the play correctly and made a diving save, thereby preserving Cullen’s lead.
The duels in all key areas of the field continued for the rest of the game until the referee blew the final whistle to end the breathtaking game – and a fantastic debut season for SLN’s Houston soccer league.