TULSA, OKLA. _ The most successful season in Vaqueros history ended on Tuesday with a 3-1 loss to Tulsa Athletic that was far closer than the final score appears.
Fort Worth stood tied 1-1 with the Oklahoma side in the NPSL South Regional Semifinal with 8 minutes remaining in regulation.
However, Tulsa slipped in the game-winner in the 83rd minute. Fort Worth threw everything forward in the final 7 minutes but couldn’t snag the equalizer. Athletic padded the lead in stoppage-time, as the Vaqueros were all or nothing for the equalizer.
The Vaqueros claimed the Lone Star Conference title for the first time in club history last Saturday in Midland. However, the road to Tulsa proved a weary one for the Boys In Blue as the playoffs began with a victory in Denton a week ago. After 120 minutes Fort Worth claimed the win against the Diablos on penalty kicks, then hit the road again to Midland.
Fort Worth appeared leg weary late in the match while the younger, but less experienced, Tulsa side made good on their youth. The game marked the third in 8 days for Fort Worth and 10th in 30 days as the back-loaded schedule and 100 degree heat did the veteran Vaqueros side no favors.
The Vaqueros took the lead early in the match, as Anthony Powell once again set up VcMor Eligwe for a goal in the 14th minute. Tulsa equalized in the 33rd and the match sat deadlocked until Tulsa finally broke through late in the game.
The Vaqueros have improved every season under the guidance of coach Nick Stavrou who led Fort Worth to the playoffs for the first time in 2017. Stavrou picked up the first playoff win in club history in 2018. This season the Vaqueros claimed the conference title to reached the national Round of 14 for the first time in six seasons.
Vaqueros general manager Tobias Xavier Lopez praised the team and coaches for their efforts this season.
“I know the boys are disappointed to fall short of the South Regional Final but this year marked an unprecedented success both on and off the field for the Vaqueros,” Lopez said. “We promise the Vaqueros Family that we work this offseason to continue taking steps forward and represent Fort Worth with class and quality.”