MIDLAND, TX _ The Fort Worth Vaqueros captured the first Lone Star Conference title in team history Saturday with a 2-1 victory against the Midland-Odessa Sockers.
Vaqueros forward VcMor Eligwe scored both goals for Fort Worth as the third seeded Vaqueros knocked off the conference’s No. 1 ranked Sockers on the road.
“Man, it was a very, very tough game,” Eligwe said. “We knew coming in that we were going to face a very, very strong team. Obviously, we’ve played Midland already twice and we tied one, lost one so we knew we were going to be in for a battle. We knew we were going to have to battle for the full 90 and we did that today.”
The Vaqueros advance in the NPSL national playoffs to face Heartland Conference Champions Tulsa Athletic in Oklahoma on Tuesday.
Eligwe earned the game winner in the 67th minute off a lovely combination out of the Vaqueros defense. Jamie Lovegrove eventually sprung Eligwe behind the Midland defense. From a tight, tight angle near the endline, Eligwe slotted home the championship winner.
“We’ve waited all season for Vic to do that,” Lovegrove said. “It’s the kind of performance he’s been worthy of all season. He’s found himself unlucky in front of the goal but tonight is the game we needed him.”
Fort Worth defended a Midland onslaught for the game’s final 20 minutes and bent but never broke as an organized midfield and backline kept Midland off the board.
The match proved extra rewarding for the Vaqueros who opened the playoffs on the road to Denton. The Diablos took Fort Worth through 120 minutes of soccer before the Vaqueros earned the win on penalty kicks.
The Midland match featured a wonderful contrast of styles with the younger Sockers battling the more veteran based Vaqueros. Both sides showed the benefit of their player makeup at various points in the match.
The Vaqueros opened the scoring in the 16th minute when Anthony Powell fed Eligwe for the first goal.
Midland evened the match on a well-earned goal in the 38th minute by Julio Vargas.
The conference title provides a crucial additional benefit of possibly qualifying the Vaqueros for the 2020 U.S. Open Cup tournament as well.