Holding the majority of the possession gave FC Wichita control of Saturday night’s game against Dallas City FC and the luxury of sending ball after ball across the face of the goal.
But all of that control and all of those crosses only added up to two shots on goal and no goals in the first 90 minutes.
Then came stoppage time.
A corner kick that was flicked on set up a scissor volley by Chris Lemons in the 93rd minute, a class goal that brought the score level. Then it was Jeffrey Kyei tucking away a 20-yard free kick in the 95th minute to provide a thrilling 2-1 victory for FC Wichita.
The victory improved FC Wichita to 3-0 and atop the South Central Conference standings, along with the Houston Dutch Lions.
“I don’t even know how I got my leg up that high,” said Lemons, a Wichita native who came out of retirement to play for FC Wichita this season. “It was such a good feeling to do that for this team, for Wichita. I think from then on, everybody knew we were going to win the game.”
“You always got to believe,” Kyei said. “You have to believe until the final minute and the whistle blows and the guys have packed up and left.”
Frustration mounted for FC Wichita as the minutes dragged on and the club still had nothing to show for dominating the game’s possession. Virtually the entire second half was played in the Dallas City half with Wichita’s wings shooting down the flanks and attempting to pick out runners in the box.
It was all that Dallas City would allow, as it packed its defense in the center of the field and was content to let Wichita fire in crosses with the belief that its two hulking center backs would be capable of cleaning it up.
The defense tightened even more when a turnover by FC Wichita’s back line in its own third eventually led to a corner kick. The initial shot was headed off the crossbar by FC Wichita defender Kevin Ten Eyck, but the rebound settled at the feet of Jorge DeLeon, who powered a shot past keeper Mark Wier, who was making his first start of the season.
The goal, which came in the 41st minute, was the first goal FC Wichita has conceded in conference play.
It appeared FC Wichita would settle for a frustrating loss, but Lemons’ brilliance injected the belief that the club could even score again in the final minutes of stoppage time.
“Just a freaking class goal,” FC Wichita manager John Markey said. “All that guy is is pure class. We’re so glad to have him here and be a part of this. I knew we were going to win this game when he scored a goal like that.”
Sure enough, a minute later, Luca Aneli, making his season debut as a reserve, was brought down just outside of the box to earn FC Wichita the foul.
After deliberating with Lemons on who should take the free kick, Kyei stepped up and curled the ball around the Dallas City FC wall of defenders and past the outstretched fingertips of the goalie on essentially the game’s final play.
“We practice that all the time,” Kyei said. “Before practice, after practice, coach always has us working on free kicks. He’s taught us a lot about them, so I was confident I could step up there and make it.”
Dallas City FC
First half – Dallas City FC, DeLeon. Second half–FC Wichita, Lemons; FC Wichita, Kyei. Shots–Dallas City FC 6-1–7, FC Wichita 1-2–3. Saves–Dallas City FC, Mozzo 1-0–1; FC Wichita, Weir 5-0–5.