Two teams found huge success in 2017 from the Mid South Division, as both the division winner and runner-up had plenty to be proud of this season.
With one of the strongest regular seasons in recent memory, the OKC Energy U23 emerged on top of the competitive division with an amazing 12-1-1 record and sky-high +29 goal differential. They led the division in both goals allowed and goals scored, finishing well clear at the top.
Finishing closely behind were the Mississippi Brilla FC, who came in second in the division and earned a trip to the playoffs. They made the most of it, pushing all the way to the PDL Championship Semifinals before falling to the eventual-champion Charlotte Eagles, leaving the Brilla FC as Southern Conference champions themselves. Following behind those two were Brazos Valley Cavalry FC, Texas United, FC Cleburne, and Houston FC
Here’s a look at the Mid South Division Season in Review.
Photo by Brazos Valley Cavalry FC
Record: 6-7-1, -2 GD
Mid-South Division Finish: 3rd
MVP: Elochukwu Ozumba - 9 goals, 2 assists
The Brazos Valley Cavalry FC had a season full of positives, but ultimately fell just short of their playoffs goal in 2017 with a third-place finish in the Mid-South Division. A slow start and slow end to the year ultimately saw them finish behind the OKC Energy U23 and Mississippi Brilla FC, as they lost their first two and final three matches of the year. In between, there was plenty of good, including a 6-2-1 record over their nine midseason matches. Unfortunately, three of their seven losses came against Brilla FC, who wound up finishing eleven points above the Cavalry. They did manage to go unbeaten against Houston FC and Texas United and split their series with FC Cleburne, not small accomplishments. The Cavalry had a pair of big positives on the offensive end, as Elochukwu Ozumba scored nine goals and assisted two more while Rimario Gordon recorded four tallies and led the team with three assists. In goal, primary option James Fetterly struggled at times and wound up with a 2.52 GAA, while Andy Rios got most of the remaining time in net and earned a slightly better 1.75 GAA.
Photo by FC Cleburne
Record: 4-9-1, -17 GD
Mid-South Division Finish: 5th
MVP: Anthony Powell - 5 goals, 2 assists
While FC Cleburne’s season didn’t go all according to plan, there were a few positives to take away from 2017. The team only lost more than two consecutive matches once in the season, a four-match losing streak from June 17-28, as they spread their wins out evenly through the year. One of those wins stood out as one of only two that the Mississippi Brilla FC suffered all season, a 2-0 win on June 9. They also closed out the season well, with a 2-1-1 record in their last four, including two wins over Brazos Valley Cavalry FC in that span. Cleburne was solid on the offensive end, as they put 24 goals in this year, led by five goals and two assists from Anthony Powell. Chris Escalera, Kwabena Sapon-Amoah, and Jason Diaz also notched multiple goals for the team in 2017. Defensively the team struggled with 41 goals allowed, most in the division, and Casey Tilley, Joshua Nieto, and David Lampe split time in net to the tune of a 2.93 GAA.
Photo by Houston FC
Record: 2-10-2, -21 GD
Mid-South Division Finish: 6th
MVP: Joshua Bronstorph - 3 goals
The 2017 campaign wound up being a long one for Houston FC, as the team finished at the bottom of the Mid-South Division with a 2-10-2 record this year, but it had its bright spots. Most notably was the team’s performance against FC Cleburne this season, as Houston FC went unbeaten in three matches with a 2-0-1 record to show against their divisional opponents. Their other draw on the season was a staunch defensive performance in a scoreless draw against second-place Mississippi Brilla FC. Offensively, Joshua Bronstorph led the team’s attacking efforts with three goals this year. Also contributing on the offensive end were Alex Reyes with two goals, Thomas Menke with a goal and two assists, and Luis Sanchez with a goal and an assist. In goal, the duo of Patrick Michael Hillyard and Connor Talbot allowed 24 goals in their 945 combined minutes in net for a 1.33 GAA
Photo by Mississippi Brilla FC
Record: 9-2-3, +14 GD
Mid-South Division Finish: 2nd
Playoffs: Lost in PDL Championship Semifinals
MVP: Jordan Skelton - 1 goal, 1 assist
With just two losses on the entire season, 2017 was a year to remember for the Mississippi Brilla FC as they cruised to a second-place finish and playoffs appearance. After opening the season with three consecutive wins, Brilla FC dropped their next two on June 4 and 9, but wouldn’t fall again the rest of the way. Over their last nine matches, Brilla FC posted a 6-0-3 record, including a win and draw against OKC Energy U23. The team closed their regular season the way they started it, with three straight victories. In the playoffs, they bested SIMA Aguilas and FC Miami City to win the Southern Conference crown before finally falling to the eventual PDL Champions Charlotte Eagles in the national semifinals. André De Giorgi, Thibaut Bourrier, Carlos Garces, and Thomas Vancaeyezeele all combined for five total goals and assists on the year, but it was Jordan Skelton who contributed a goal and assist offensively while playing almost every minute in defense for a Brilla FC team that surrendered only 10 goals all year. In goal, Jordan Bell was phenomenal, allowing just eight goals and posting a 0.71 GAA all season.
Photo by OKC Energy U23
Record: 12-1-1, +29 GD
Mid-South Division Finish: 1st
Playoffs: Lost in Southern Conference Semifinals
MVP: Julio Moncada - 11 goals, 4 assists
While they may have made an unfortunately early exit in the playoffs, falling in the Southern Conference Semifinals to FC Miami City, OKC Energy U23 had one of the best seasons nationwide in 2017. There is no possible way to begin a season better than Energy U23 did, winning their first nine straight from May 13 to June 17. The team then suffered their only two negative results of the season, a draw and loss to Mississippi Brilla FC, but rebounded and won their last three to close out a 12-1-1 season and a Mid-South Division crown. The team scored a division-high 39 goals and surrendered a division-low 10 goals in a near-perfect year. Leading the charge offensively was Julio Moncada, who recorded a stunning 11 goals and four assists. Also finishing with five or more goals plus assists were Christian Okeke, William Roberts, and Noah Keats. In goal, Eric Dick may be the lone player more valuable than Moncada this year, playing every single minute of all 14 matches and surrendering just the 10 goals this year for a 0.71 GAA.
Photo by Texas United
Record: 5-8-1, -1 GD
Mid-South Division Finish: 4th
MVP: Miguel Velasquez - 5 goals, 3 assists
Texas United finished just shy of third-place Brazos Valley Cavalry FC in 2017, finishing in fourth with a 5-8-1 record with stretches of good soccer during the season. Texas started the year on the right foot, earning a 4-2 win over FC Cleburne and winning two of their first four. The team would win all three of its matches over Houston FC, including twice in a five match span that saw the team go 3-1-1 late in the year. The team played division-winners OKC Energy U23 close in their matches this year, falling twice to them by just one goal, and also got the better of FC Cleburne twice this season. The team’s statistics were better than its record indicated, finishing third in both goals scored and goals allowed this year. Leading the charge offensively was Miguel Velasquez with five goals and three assists, closely followed by Flavio Guzman with three goals and five assists. Also of note was a four goal, one assist showing from Patricio Botello and a three goal, one assist campaign from Alan Rivera. In goal, Adam Zehme, Matt Karasinski, and Charles Schober combined to allow 28 goals over the 14 match campaign, a 2.00 GAA.