EDCOUCH-ELSA — The Brownsville Porter Cowboys were in fine form again Friday night, defeating the La Joya Palmview Lobos 2-0 to advance to the regional semifinal round.
“We knew it was going to be a battle,” Porter coach Jose Espitia said. “We had seen La Joya Palmview. They have a lot of heart, they hustle and they never give up. We told the kids that we have to try and score early, and manage the game.”
The Cowboys looked likely to score early, creating plenty of chances during the first few minutes, and found their breakthrough on a corner.
Alessandro Lara lofted in a beautiful cross that found Martin Gonzalez waiting in the middle of the box. Gonzalez rose expertly and used plenty of neck to easily fire his header into the back of the net.
Porter’s Julian Gallegos often found space behind the Lobos’ defense. He used his body well to shield from challenges, turn his markers and nutmeg defenders. Gallegos’ play was a big part of the Cowboys enjoying the vast majority of the possession during the first half.
Lara was also key to Porter’s field position dominance. The midfielder sat in front of his defenders well, breaking up Palmview attacks before they could get started, provided line splitting passes and choosing his runs to provide key moments in attack.
Gallegos dealt a crushing blow to the Lobos during the 33rd minute. Lara intercepted on the edge of the box and found Gallegos just inside the right-hand side of the box. Gallegos opted for precision and his first-time shot found the corner of the net, leaving the goalie frozen to make it 2-0.
“Honestly, I did not look up, I just shot,” he said. “My teammates told me to shoot and I did. I am so grateful for the teammates I have. Every game they give 100 percent. We do not depend on one player, when a player is off anybody can step up.”
Porter continued their dominance during the second half, coming close to scoring multiple times early in the half. Palmview keeper Ruben Martinez stepped up when needed. Porter’s goals were really skillfully taken. It was not Martinez’s fault, as the keeper kept his team in the match.
“It has been a great season,” Palmview coach Juan Hernandez said. “I told my boys give it your best, give us 100 percent effort, and if we come up short that is fine. I think they put everything on the line. Porter is a very good team. I have no doubt they will go deep.”
The Cowboys’ defense dealt with sparse Lobos attacks with ease as Porter saw out the match. Co-captain and center back Ricardo Leal read the game effectively, leading the back line.
Porter will head to Corpus Christi next Friday for its regional semifinal.