I missed the Vaqueros’ Chisholm Cup games against Denton, though I didn’t miss any wins, since Fort Worth still has yet to win a game this season and is rooted to the bottom of the Lone Star Conference Division. Their loss last night to the Midland-Odessa Sockers was different from their others. Many of the previous losses have been goalfests, but this match was a boring one where both teams struggled to create much in the way of scoring chances. The Sockers are atop the division, and the Vaqueros being able to play them relatively close might be taken as consolation. Then again, it’s cold comfort if you look at the NPSL standings.
I got an early touch on the ball when the Vaqueros’ defense kicked it onto the advertising hoarding nearest me, so I gave it to the Midland right back for a throw-in. That was the highlight of the first 15 minutes, with the visitors No. 11 (a winger who operated on both sides and looked like their most dangerous threat) sending a looping header over Fort Worth’s goal. I noticed that Midland’s keeper was frequently ranging far out of his net when his team had the ball. Perhaps if the forwards had pressed the defenders with the ball, they might have created some turnovers and caught the keeper out. Still, easy for me to tell the forwards to press on a sweltering day when the humidity felt like about 450 percent. Nobody wants a repeat of what happened to Christian Eriksen during yesterday’s Denmark-Finland game.
The home team managed a quick-breaking counterattack from a Midland corner kick, giving No. 15 a clean look at goal, but he shot high. The Vaqueros tried to take the game to the Sockers by playing out from the back, but the visitors soaked up the pressure without too much trouble. Fort Worth’s defense played fairly well, too, except for late in the first half when they failed to clear a ball bouncing inside their own penalty area, which Midland-Odessa’s No. 9 eventually put home with an acrobatic finish.
It’s rather discouraging that the home team couldn’t find much of a response, nor could the coaches find the right substitutions to change the dynamic. An angled shot from outside the box forced Midland’s’ goalkeeper into a diving save in the 85th minute, and the ensuing corner kick was headed powerfully off the crossbar. That was it for the home side’s chances for an equalizer, as the Vaqueros came away with tons of possession and not much penetration to show for it. The visitors run out with their undefeated record intact, and the Vaqueros look for their first victory next week against Laredo.