NATIONAL PREMIER SOCCER LEAGUE: Vaqueros eliminate Sockers FC from playoffs - Odessa American: Sports

NATIONAL PREMIER SOCCER LEAGUE: Vaqueros eliminate Sockers FC from playoffs

By Michael Bauer, 432-333-7772 | Posted: Saturday, July 13, 2019 11:52 pm

MIDLAND Hopes for a Lone Star Conference tournament championship for Sockers FC came to an end with a 2-1 loss to the Fort Worth Vaqueros Saturday at Grande Communications Stadium, bringing an end to their 2019 season as well.

VicMor Eligwe’s goals in the first and second half were enough for the No. 3-seeded Vaqueros to move on in the National Premier Soccer League playoffs.

Eligwe’s goals came in the 17th and 66th minutes while Sockers’ Julio Vargas managed to tie it up before halftime with his 38th minute strike.

“It’s huge,” Fort Worth head coach Nicolas Stavrou said. “It’s our first time to win the conference in the playoffs. We’ve come so close in the last few years. To get over this hump is amazing. It’s great to see the excitement on our players’ faces.”

Sockers FC came out attacking, putting up three close chances in the opening 12 minutes.

The third of which was a shot that went wide right of the net from Julio Vargas and both teams were still tied at 0-0.

But despite the Sockers’ numerous chances, it was the Vaqueros that struck first.

Anthony Powell connected with Eligwe on a cross that found the back of the net for a 1-0 Fort Worth lead in the 17th minute.

A few corner kicks for the Sockers in the first half came and went but they were unable to make much of the chances and still trailed by a goal.

But the Vaqueros came dangerously close to doubling their lead when Cameron Brown’s shot in the 34th minute sailed over the crossbar.

Miles Byass nearly made it 2-0 just two minutes later when his shot was saved by Sockers goalkeeper Brin Lapuh.

But it wasn’t until the 38th minute when the Sockers’ patience paid off with an equalizer by Vargas with an assist from Ewan McLauchlan.

A free kick by Eduardo Bonatto was saved by the Vaqueros’ goalkeeper Ammon Borjas right before the end of the first half and both teams were tied at the break.

Both teams had a number of chances to strike early in the second half as Vargas and Fort Worth’s Andrews Ruiz each had chances that finished wide.

But it was Eligwe who delivered in the second half for the Vaqueros, finding the back of the net in the 56th to put his team back in front for good.

The Sockers attacked the net numerous times but couldn’t get the equalizing goal before time expired.

“Those guys were very experienced abut we had our chances and sometimes the ball doesn’t go in the net,” Sockers FC head coach Johnny Clifford said. “Soccer is a game of the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.

“I think tonight we thought we were the better team but that doesn’t always mean that you’ll win. I think we had a bunch of shots but Fort Worth was the more clinical team tonight.”