NATIONAL PREMIER SOCCER LEAGUE: Sockers FC bounce back with victory over Fort Worth

MIDLAND After suffering its first defeat of the season Thursday night, Sockers FC entered its match against the Fort Worth Vaqueros looking to get things going back in the right direction.

It took almost the full length of the game but the team found the breakthrough it was looking for in the last 10 minutes of the match.

A goal from Ewan McLauchlan in the 84th minute was the difference as Sockers FC defeated the Vaqueros 1-0 in National Premier Soccer League play Saturday at Grande Communications Stadium

The victory moved the Sockers (6-2-1 overall, 6-1-1 league) back on top of the Lone Star Conference standings while the Vaqueros (4-1-1) suffered their first defeat of the season.

“I made a big point of emphasis both Friday and today that we had to bounce back from that loss,” Sockers FC head coach Johnny Clifford said. “It wasn’t pretty at times but we ground out a good result and we bounced back well tonight.”

Even if it wasn’t pretty, Sockers FC had a number of good chances to get on the board early as both Julio Vargas and Pedro Garcia each had good looks at goal within the first eight minutes. Both of those chances, however, were not converted.

While the Sockers FC attack was looking for that final finish, it was the goalkeeping of Lukas Betz that kept the team afloat.

He finished with four saves on the night, three of them coming in the first half.

His best effort of the night came in the 38th minute, where he cleared out a shot on goal from Vaqueros forward VcMor Eligwe to keep the game scoreless.

“The team always gets confidence from the back if the back is stable,” Betz said. “It’s confidence that pushes the whole team forward. I’m pretty sure the team got pushed by my saves.

“At the end, we had a brilliant game up front. I think the whole team got pushed. We were motivated, we got on fire and we got an important win.”

With still no score after 45 minutes, both teams looked to regroup and find a goal.

And not to be outdone by Betz, Vaqueros goalkeeper Eduardo Cortes came through with his best save of the night in the 60th minute when he cleared away a free kick from Eduardo Bonatto that was going for goal.

Sockers FC had two more great chances off of corner kicks in the 71st and 82nd minutes.

But it wasn’t until McLauchlan found his way through the middle of the field and put the only goal of the night in the back of the net off a cross from Trevor Amann.

“This result is exactly what we needed,” McLauchlan said. “We just had to pick ourselves up after Thursday and to beat the team that was on top of the league tonight was a great thing for us.”

Fort Worth sent numbers forward late but were unable to get an equalizer as Sockers FC held on for the win.

“I thought we dominated the game tonight,” Clifford said. “Honestly if this game ended 0-0, I would have walked away feeling a little bit disappointed.

I’m glad that Ewan got his goal because he’s been huge for us all season. He’s got four goals for us for someone who is not a predominant forward and that was well deserved.”

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