As time flies past like the sands of time, just over 30 days remains until the big KO at Weis Stadium in Galveston to kick-start the all talked about, all hyped up NPSL season.
No pressure then!
This season within the HFA has seen more twists and turns than a snake paddling through water and the constant strain of playing a combination of league and several cup competitions seemed to have taken it’s toll on a tired looking Pirate side during the month of March.
However with a free weekend last week, it appeared enough to re-charge the batteries of many of the players as Sunday’s arranged scrimmage against the GPS showed.
With renewed vigour and energy, the Pirates bit into this Galveston Premier League Select side from the beginning but had to come from behind to manage it, but manage it they did.
It was the first of two hat-trick heroes that stepped up first as Taylor Lubianski scored the equalizer for his team with a well struck shot from 10 yards out. Taylor only needed three more minutes before adding his second after meeting a cross from Eric Cruz to make the score 2-1 to the Patch wearing soccer side.
Despite a few more chances in the first 45, no more goals were to be scored but that wasn’t to be the case in the second period as the goal fest began.
They players had been linking well together and it was all one way traffic as the game marched on, which was morale boosting for the players involved, but they needed to turn possession into goals which they readily did.
Taylor added his third with a cracking header to the top corner giving him a ‘Real’ hat-trick and also his first for the Pirate side.
The lead was a well deserved one and the NPSL bound players were looking hungry as they stroked the ball forward. You could tell they wanted more from this game and they had the Select side exactly where they wanted them as they pressed forward.
Greyhound like Bryan Mann was next up to bulge the net after scoring a beauty by rounding the defender before blasting home making the score 4-1. Like Taylor before him, Bryan was dominating his area and looked likely to score at every attempt.
The Pirates were playing some great passes through to Bryan as he continued to speed forward; One of which was to lead to his second and the Pirates fifth.
With a nicely weighted through ball played, a 50 meter foot race began between Bryan and an unfortunate select defender. It was like a Pinto trying to catch a Ferrari. The poor defender was left in Bryan’s dust as they chased the ball with the Pirate attacker latching onto the pass and he rocketed a shot home to make it 5-1 with the best goal of the game.
The shot and speed would not have gone unnoticed by his Boeing-NASA employee father Douglas, who measured the speed at some ridiculous sub-sonic speed that nearly broke the sound barrier!
The game had never really looked in doubt and with the introduction of new players Steven & Cesar, the Pirate started to flex their attacking muscles even more in the final stages of the match.
The Select side were to drag a rather soft and dubious goal back after the referee pointed to the penalty spot. “It appeared more that the player tripped over the ball without a challenge being made” said Pirate coach Keyes after the game, “But it’s a friendly, I won’t make a fuss over it.”
The spot kick was duly slotted home to make it 5-2 but no one was under any illusion about the outcome of the game.
The Pirates were soon awarded a penalty of their own shortly afterwards after Steven was taken down in the area, with Bryan Mann stepping up to take the responsibility of scoring his hat-trick and his sides sixth goal which he gunned home with no real resistance from the keeper.
In a bizarre twist at the end, the man in the middle awarded the Select side another penalty which was hammered home to end the game 6-3 for the Pirate crew.
So a good win for the Pirates with both Taylor and Bryan managing hat-tricks as they continue their push towards being fighting fit for the upcoming challenges ahead.
Afterwards Brendan Keyes said:”The Pirate pre-season started today. The Galveston Premier League put a team of the best players from the top sides to take us on and we defeated them. It was a good game and a good test for our players.”
“The goals were superb. A hat-trick for both Taylor and Bryan is brilliant and will really help with their confidence. I told Bryan before the game that I believed in him as a player but he needed to believe in himself. He has the ability to play at this level and he proved that today as he stepped up his game and scored a superb three goals.”
“We have State Cup action next weekend followed by games against Elite and AFC Dynamo before heading back into the excitement of US Open Cup qualifying at the end of the month. It’ll be a real rollercoaster for the next three weeks for sure.” Keyes rounded off.
The Pirates opening NPSL match takes place at Weis Stadium on May 11th v America USA FC, 7pm kickoff. Details here.
Tix for this match and for all Pirate home matches can be purchased here at GalvestonSocial.com
Marc Roseblade is a contributor for 90 Soccer and Not Just Scottish Football. He works as PR for Ayr United Football Academy and Galveston Pirate Soccer Club. Marc’s main passions revolve around lower league, youth and women’s football. You can follow Marc on Twitter @myscottishfitba