A win was only part of what the B-52s wanted to accomplish in their indoor soccer home-opener against Tulsa on Saturday evening.
In the minds of the players, every game is an opportunity. An opportunity not just to add a win, but to influence and gain fans.
The B-52s satisfied both needs on Saturday in a 12-6 victory over the Revolution in front of sizable crowd at Hartman Arena. It was the most goals scored in the franchise’s brief 2-year history. Wichita native Kevin Ten Eyck led the output with four goals.
“We don’t just want to win, we want to win big,” said defender Alex Moseley, who did his part by doling out five assists. “We want more and more people out here and fill these stands and get them excited about indoor soccer.”
To do that, Wichita will need to duplicate its precision and style from the second half, where the B-52s broke a 4-all tie at halftime with an 8-2 onslaught.
After Wichita scored three goals in the game’s opening five minutes, taking a 3-0 lead in the process, it let its game deteriorate severely for the remaining 25 minutes. It wasn’t until they retreated to the locker room, where coach Jeff Kraft’s screams could be heard from the stands, that change occurred.
“It was just the little things we were doing,” Kraft said. “The quick changes, the knocking the ball out, the possession. To me, they were a completely different team compared to the first half.”
Wichita cut down on its dribbling, ridding itself of hopeless one-on-one forays into crowds and replacing them with quick knocks around the perimeter until it caught Tulsa’s defense in a slow rotation.
That’s when the goals started coming and that’s what the B-52s know needs to become its identity.
“Wichita fans know their soccer,” Ten Eyck said. “When they see us knocking around the ball, moving passes, doing 1-2’s around people, they’re going to recognize quality soccer. That’s what they’re going to want to see.”
When forward Byron Alvarez capitalized on a goal off a set piece to break the halftime tie with 7:28 remaining in the third quarter, Wichita came alive. By the time the wave of momentum was over at the end of the third quarter, Wichita led 9-5.
The best goal was reserved for the fourth quarter, however, long after the outcome had been decided.
The B-52s rewarded their fans for sticking around, as Ten Eyck and Abel Sebele executed a flawless give-and-go with Ten Eyck delivering a pass to Sebele and then darting around his defender to finish off a perfectly-placed pass on the back post.
It was exactly the type of performance Ten Eyck and the B-52s were looking for. The team moves to 1-1 on the season in the MASL and plays next on Nov. 16 at home against Texas.
“We want all of these fans to come back out and be excited about this team,” Ten Eyck said. “We want people talking about us around Wichita. If we’re out at a grocery store, we want people to recognize us. Wichita is a blue-collar community and we think this team is a good representation of that. We want to be one, big family.”