Famiglietta Wows Wichita, Runners Played Hearts Out, Fall on the Road

by Andres Trujillo

Wichita, KS - Playing with a short roster due to injuries is not easy to begin with. But playing with a short roster and without two goalkeepers is like trying to scale Mount Everest without a jacket. On Saturday night in Wichita, the Runners were in that predicament. 

New Mexico made the road trip with only 11 players rostered up due to injuries that have plagued the team. For reference in the MASL2, teams are allow to have a max of 16 players on the game day roster. Two field players couldn’t make the trip due to stomach bugs. Also, both goalkeepers Yeager as well as Castaneda were out with injuries and team captain Froilan Ramirez stepped up to play keeper even though he had a sore hamstring injury. The Runners elected to keep remaining injured players rested as they head into their 3rd home game on February 11th.

The Runners started off the match a little slow as Wichita scored 2 in a matter of three and a half minutes. That lead would be cut short in less than 30 sec as Vince Aragon set the Runners in momentum with a sneaky goal. A defensive battle ensued for more than 6 minutes until the Wings found two more goals. New Mexico wouldn’t go quietly in the first quarter as league goal scoring leader Mehrshad Ahmadi fires in two within 50 seconds of each other which would end the quarter trailing the Wings 3-4.

Quarter 2 was one with plenty of action that had a total of 9 goals scores between both teams. Wichita extended their lead early in the quarter. Ahmadi found a gap and fired one in for a hat trick with an assist off the wall by Aragon at the 12:11 mark. New Mexico’s Zach Estell would be penalized and sent to the penalty box for two minutes for a pushing foul. Wichita would capitalize on a power play and score again making it 4-6 in favor of the Wings. Just over a minute later, Ahmadi would collect his fourth goal of the night. The Runners would go on a three goal scoring streak to take their first lead of the game 7-6. During that streak, Estell would fire one in assisted by Aragon and following Ahmadi would assist one to Terry Zamora for goal. 

Unfortunately another injury would hurt New Mexico when Ahmadi turned wrong causing a pulled hamstring. This injury would send Mehrshad to the bench for the remainder of the match and Wichita would press the gas scoring three to close out the first half with a 7-9 lead.

The 3rd quarter again had a total of 9 goals scored in from both teams. Even though the Wings started off with a goal in just over a minute, an exciting goal from New Mexico had the Wichita crowd cheering for the Runners. Due to the reduced number in New Mexico’s roster, Head Coach Steve Famiglietta was suited up and ready to play if needed. The “bat signal” was seen in the sky and Famiglietta stepped on the field. At the 12:54 mark and with his first touch of the game, Famiglietta flipped the ball behind him in ESPN highlight fashion and scored. The crowd erupted in applause as there was recognition of an athlete who may be 57 years old, but can still compete with athletes who are 20-30 years younger. 

Famiglietta now holds the record for the oldest goal scorer in Major Arena Soccer League history and perhaps arena soccer history. Many know that Fami has a very extensive history in soccer ranging from indoor to outdoor as well as an inductee to the USL pro soccer hall of fame. 

In just a minute later, Aragon would see Estell in an open lane and fired off an assist to Zach for goal. The Runners would come within one of the Wings 9-10. Unfortunately fatigue started to set in for New Mexico due to only having two lines. Wichita would run away with 3 more in the third as they scored on power play advantages due to penalties served by the Runners. One of those was and automatic ejection of Colton Oord due to his third time penalty in the game. Aragon would add his second goal of the game with 4:09 remaining in the third and 10 goals is all New Mexico would tally on the evening.

The remainder of the game would be all Wichita as there wasn’t much left in the tank for New Mexico and the Wings would go on to defeat the Runners 21-10. Wings fans of a certain age, continued to praise and applaud Coach Famiglietta after the match ended.

New Mexico still remains in the positive with a record of 3-2 heading into their third home game of the season on Saturday February 11th at the Rio Rancho Events Center where they host the 1-4 Kansas Bandits.

*photo courtesy of PG Photography

Watch Coach Famiglietta’s Goal: