MIDLAND — In an early-season battle for control of the National Premier Soccer League’s Lonestar Conference, Midland-Odessa FC was able to earn three valuable points with a 2-1 victory over Fort Worth Vaqueros FC on Saturday night at Grande Communications Stadium.
“It’s a big, big win for us,” Midland-Odessa FC assistant coach Dave Jacobs told reporters following the match. “It puts us at the top of the conference, which is important to us. We knew that coming in. It was a little challenging toward the end there, but I didn’t think we were pressed really until that time, so I am OK with that.”
For the first part of the first half, the battle for possession seemed even and neither team could set themselves up for a good scoring opportunity. That would change in the 29th minute for Midland-Odessa FC.
Off of a free kick, Midland native Darius Strambler curved a ball from about 35 yards away from right to left and the ball found Ricardo Palomino in the box. Palomino connected with it on a header and found the back of the net for his third goal of the year, as Midland-Odessa FC (3-0-0, 9 pts) took a 1-0 lead.
It didn’t take long after halftime for the Midland-Odessa FC to get on the board again as in the 49th minute. Goalkeeper Braulio Linares-Ortiz lofted a goal kick past midfield to Memo Diaz, who saw that Fort Worth (3-1-0, 9 pts) goalkeeper Marcel DaSilva was caught out of position and too far out in front of the goal. Diaz proceeded to loft the ball over DaSilva’s head as it trickled into the goal for his second goal of the season to give Midland-Odessa FC a 2-0 advantage.
Fort Worth was able to score the first goal of the season on Linares-Ortiz in second half stoppage time when Vaqueros midfielder Liren Halle was able to breakaway and punch the ball in. Despite allowing the late goal, Linares-Ortiz did finish the night with four saves.
After playing three straight home matches, Midland-Odessa FC’s unique schedule has them playing their next five matches on the road. That stretch will begin with a rematch with Fort Worth Vaqueros FC on June 3 at 7:30 p.m.
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