Storm United knocks down Toros Neza USA 8-1 to continue promotion hopes in the UPSL D1 SoCal East.
Both teams were at the top half of the table for this matchup. It would battle for a critical 3 points to get a spot to get promoted to the Premier division. Storm United was in 2nd place with 18 points, winning 6 and losing 1 match, which was to table leaders Soul2Sole. They had a goal difference of +14 and are on a 5 game winning streak, including blanking Fontana 2-0 in their last match. Meanwhile, for the visiting team, Toros were in 4th place with 5 wins and 2 losses, including a goal difference of +4 and 15 points. They are on a 1 game winning streak (2-0 win vs. DCSC) but suffered 2 losses beforehand to FADP and Soul2Sole.
On a $1 pizza night in California’s High Desert, a crowd of around 50 people on foldable chairs and behind pickup trucks saw Storm United host Toros Neza USA at Brewster Park in Apple Valley. After the kickoff, Storm came on pressing. The home team would pounce on Toro’s mistakes of incomplete passes and bad dribbling. To an extent, Storm has also had some rough first minutes for players to be firm on receiving and giving passes. The field is grass, and not even with some areas having bumps. Nonetheless, both teams weren’t afraid of rough tackles, fighting for 50/50 balls. For Storm, their main point of attack would be on the wings, while the visiting team would have their midfielders make lob passes to their forwards to chase down. On numerous occasions, the forward would always shoulder fight the Storm defender and had some success and failures, but that attitude has stayed with him.
After many backs and fourth phases, the home team breaks the deadlock with a crash with the forward, Toros defender, and keeper that results in a loose ball for another Storm forward to place it home. With that goal, Storm now having most of the possession and still following the game plan of sprinting down the wings and setting up for a shot. The game plan is proven successful for the home team as they get a second goal with the forward shooting a low shot from the half-circle and goes to the left back corner of the net. Less than 5 mins later, Storm gets the third goal with a cross from inside the right side of the box, and the winger at the far left post karate kicks it in. Afterward, the half would end.
he second half kicks off, and Storm gets 4th goal with a long pass to the left wing; and he crosses the ball in the heart of the box that finds two Storm forwards and no Toros defenders, and the forward all alone hits it home. Even with the 4-0 lead, the home team still press high and wants more.
ike the first half, Toros still are very sloppy with connecting passes among teammates. However, the away team did find some connections with the lob passes and start shooting from far, but none have been on target. Then Storm gets off a free kick play which Toros defender tries to clear but gets deflected, the ball goes up, and Storm hits the high ball.
inally, Toros get a penalty in hopes of getting one on the board. The Toros player covers a shot that pings the right post and goes in as the goalkeeper leaves. Throughout the second half, Toros verbally reminds the refs and line judges about particular tackles and missing offside calls resulting in goals. To add to their frustration, it seemed like Toros came into the match with no substitutes and some players visible out of shape. One example is a Toros defender who played sweeper falls after a free-kick to his knees.
he coach then decides to move him to the top. Eventually, Storm would go on to score three more goals to close out the blowout. Jett Casarez for Storm gets a hat trick, Jose Valadez gets 2 goals, and Jonny Castaneda, Miguel Zarate & Ivan Acosta got 1 goal apiece.
It’s not an accident that Storm United didn’t want to settle with a 3-0 victory. Being in 2nd place and understanding that their only loss was to Soul 2 Sole, who is in 1st place and is undefeated, they wanted to maximize with goal difference. After this performance, Storm still sits in 2nd place with a GD of +21 (one more than S2S). The GD gave them a lot of insurance to 3rd place team IER who have the same points and record as Storm but with a GD of +13. Not to mention, the high desert team will get an automatic forfeit win from Ace Academy, which withdrew from the league early in the season. In the final week, Storm will host IER in a top match to see who gets the automatic promotion spot or sits in the promotion playoff spot.
On the flip side, Toros suffer their third loss of the season, and playoff hopes look like a taller mountain to climb. They are officially out of 1st place automatic promotion spot but still can get placed in a playoff promotion spot. Their next game is against IER, a top team, so Toros can’t lose any more games if they want to keep the playoff dream alive.