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Woodland FC succumb to their own mistakes in tense top of the table match.

Real Overland Park traveled to Shawnee, Kansas to take on the Royals in what promised to be a thrilling top of the table clash between two clubs that promise to challenge for the inaugural league title. The Royals knew this match would be challenging, as they were down several key players for this early season clash. Derrick Carson, Brennan Williams, Erik Calderon, and Haddon DeMoure would be sorely missed today.

Woodland came out of the blocks strong though, maintaining possession and creating attacking chances early and often.

They would be rewarded for their early pressure when the Royals won a corner kick in the 3' minute of the match. The ball was whipped into the box, but overshot the crashing attackers. Thankfully, Gage Pemberton was waiting outside the box to smash an effort back towards the goal that was sailing goal-ward. One of the Overland Park defenders used his arm to keep the ball from the goal, and the Royals would feel hard-done-by as the player didn't receive a card of any kind for a clear and egregious violation.

They did receive a penalty kick though, which Spence Jean-Baptiste calmly slotted home to give Woodland the early 1-0 lead.

Overland Park seemed content to cede ground, absorb pressure, and attack when they could counter, which would prove to be a theme of this match. In the 17th minute Overland Park would score of a turnover near midfield. They would attack up the left side, and send in a deflected cross that went right to Victor Nichols to head home. A fortuitous bounce for the black-gold.

The Royals would give up a poor free kick a few minutes later that they dealt with poorly. Overland Park would capitalize on it well, and Ashton Watson would head it home off the post to take a 2-1 lead. The Royals had largely controlled the match, and found themselves down by a goal.

The Royals would fight back through two close efforts from long range by Max Torres, one barely scraping off the crossbar. The Royals would give up a 3rd on a turnover deep in their own half on a pair of controversial no-calls, one on the tackle, one for offsides. Watson would grab his 2nd.

The Royals almost struck back immediately after the restart when Spencer Bone put a great effort towards goal off an excellent layoff from Chandler Givler. It was tipped onto the post, and the rebound went right to the Overland Park keeper, Kleber Meneses, who played an excellent match.

Overland Park would capitalize on another Royals' mistake immediately after, when a miscommunication between goalkeeper Julian Zamudio-Lopez and Luke Heaton left a loose ball for Watson to complete his hat trick on an empty net. The Royals knew coming into the match that Watson was a threat, and had held him to roughly 4-5 touches all half, and 3 of them were for goals.

Shortly before halftime, Michael Okiring nearly got a crucial goal back off a loose ball following a corner before firing just barely over the bar from 16 yards out.

Halftime: Real Overland Park 4-1 Woodland FC

The Royals came out knowing they'd have to play immaculately to salvage what they earned after 45-minutes. They made some adjustments structurally to their on-field shape, and resumed their assault on the Overland Park goal. But it would prove to be a bridge too far as the Royals would split the 2nd-half with Overland Park 3-3, and 7-4 total for the final score.

The Royals would create many more chances that Meneses would manage to save well again, preserving their lead. Andersson Obando would add 2 goals in the 2nd half, and Chandler Givler would contribute a 4th from a penalty kick yet again.

As bad as this loss was, the hardest part was the loss of Josh Sherfy for the season due to injury minutes before full-time. He suffered a partially-torn achilles. Our prayers are with him.

"There is a clear temptation to say 'We were just unlucky', or 'The refs screwed us', but that's all just talk. Overland Park took their chances and we didn't. Simple as that. We will learn, grow, and become stronger through it. We don't have time to pout. I'm gutted for Josh, and will be waiting to hear what the test results say. Either way, we're on to Leawood now."

The Royals fall to 2-0-1 on the season, level on points with Real Overland Park, Northland FC, and Southside FC. Real Overland Park has a game in hand. Woodland FC travels to Leawood Forest April 27th for another difficult match.

Watch the match replay on our Youtube channel!

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