Edgar Marquez converted a penalty kick in the 67th minute for the deciding goal in Celebration’s  3-1 soccer win over rival Osceola on Thursday night to keep the Storm undefeated in the 2021-22 season.

It was anything but easy for the Storm (5-0-3), as the teams fought to a 0-0 tie in the first half.  Celebration put six shots on goal in the first half, compared to just one by Osceola, but Kowboy goalie Geronimo Rosero stopped each of them – including two from point-blank range by Francisco Nouer.

“It was starting to get a little frustrating,” Celebration head coach Chad Boudreaux said.  “We were coming off a game where we got about 20 shots on goal last night against St. Cloud (a 0-0 draw) and could not put one in the net.  It was more of the same in the first half tonight.  Give their goalie a lot of credit though. He was just standing on his head in that first half.  He made some sensational saves.”

Celebration would finally break through with 21 minutes to go in the game when Rosero lost sight of a high free-kick from near midfield and got slightly out of position.  Sebastian Ramis found the ball at his feet near the goal line and was able to trickle a shot into the net from the left side to make it 1-0.

The lead was short-lived however as the officials called a dangerous play foul on Celebration inside the box, giving the Kowboys a penalty kick.  Christopher Chicon would fake right on his approach and slipped the ball past goalie Nick Arce on the left-hand side to level the score at 1-1 at the 65’ of the game.

Less than a minute later, the officials called nearly an identical foul on Osceola on the edge of the box.  On the ensuing penalty kick, Rosero guessed correctly that Marquez would go to his right side and nearly stopped the shot.   But the attempt went off Roserio’s fingertips and barely stayed inside the corner of the goal for a 2-1 lead.

Trailing by one with time running out, Osceola tried to bring numbers forward,  but the Storm went on a counter-attack and Jose D’Lima broke loose down the right-hand side and buried a shot past Rosero with less than two minutes to go to ice the win.

“We’re still a work in progress.  It felt good getting three goals tonight after not being able to score last night against St. Cloud,” Boudreaux said.  “Even though the first one wasn’t very pretty and the second one was on a penalty kick, we are starting to move the ball a little better and had a lot of good looks tonight.   But we certainly have a lot of work to do.”

For the most part, Osceola Head Coach Dean Olliff said he was happy with his team’s performance as the Kowboys fell to 1-7-0 on the season.  “Celebration is a veteran team that has been scoring a lot of goals this season,” Olliff said.  “We knew what they were going to try to do coming in and I thought we did a good job of taking that game plan away.  Our defensemen and goalie did a great job tonight of shutting down their offense.  Our goalie lost the ball in the lights on their first goal and their second came on a penalty kick; while their third came on a breakaway when we were pressing.  The final score certainly was not indicative of how well we played.”

For the contest, Celebration led in shots of goal, 12-2, and corner kicks, 3-1.   Each team committed nine fouls. The goal scored by Osceola was just the second conceded by Celebration this year – who has outscored the opposition this season 31-2.

Osceola returns to action next Tuesday at Eustis (1-4-1); while the Storm has a big match at home on Monday against Windermere (6-1-0).