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The Denton Diablos opened their inaugural season against their derby foe, the Fort Worth Vaqueros. The Vaqueros came away with a 4-3 win in the first game of the Chisholm Trail Classico. Both teams displayed quality soccer and it was a wonderful way to spend a Saturday night watching local soccer.

The Game

The game got off to a great start with both teams wanting to implement their style into the game. Both teams had quality chances in front of goal as both teams also displayed duality defense play. The Diablos favored to have possession and build things out of the back and play quick passes. The Vaqueros would attack on the counter and play with plenty of verticalities. Jamie Lovegrove opened the scoring in the 25th minutes after find thing the ball about 25 to 30 yards out and caught the Diablos keeper off guard. About 5 minutes later, the Diablos would have their chance to score as they earned a penalty. Sam Garza buried the penalty into the upper-90 to tie things up. Lovegrove had different ideas, as he scored a goal from around the penalty spot to end the first half.

If one thought that the first half of the game was exciting, well the second had much more to give. The Vaqueros and Diablos came out hungry and there were goals, much more. Jalen James would use his speed to run up the right side of the field and score a goal to make the game level at 2 goals for both teams. Nicky Hernandez scored the 3rd goal for the Diablos right inside the box giving the Diablos the lead. The Vaqueros, not wanting to be outdone, tied things up with a Daren Mitchell goal and grabbed the lead thanks to Cameron Brown. It would come down to the wire as the Diablos came close to scoring, though the Vaqueros walk away with a 4-3 win in the first game in the Chisholm Trail Classico.

“[Our] young men appreciated an opportunity and worked hard and put 3 in the back of the net. Most days, 3 in the back of the net is good for a ‘W’ and today it didn’t work out though it’s okay though. That’s a class side that we faced in the Fort Worth Vaqueros…At the end of the day, that is not the result that we want and it’s not the result that we were shooting for and it’s not the result that we are going to give you the next game but I am super proud of our boys and their effort.” – Damon Gochneaur (Denton Diablos Co-Owner)

Thoughts and Takeaways

Denton Diablos

Despite this being the Diablos’ first game and the Diablos are missing some players, Coach Chad Rakestraw had the team well prepared. The Diablos opted to have ball possession and play out of the back with #10 Sam Garza linking the defense and attack as he cycled the ball forward. There were some moments where there was a disconnect between players but that is to be expected for a team playing together in a competitive match for the first time.

“It being our first game, the unity is not quite there. I think that the Vaqueros had us overall, we tried out best and we fought until the very end. We created chances and we really tried.” – Chad Rakestraw (Denton Diablos Head Coach)

The attacking play was reminiscent of Barcelona at the beginning of this century. The Diablos played the ball up to their players and would look for the delayed runner and play the ball into the top of the box. The Diablos players were well disciplined in their play and stayed committed to playing as a team, so hats of to Rakestraw and his staff.

Fort Worth Vaqueros

Even though it was the Vaqueros second game of the season, they didn’t show it. The Vaqueros opted to sit back a little and hit on the counter. The counter worked great for the visitors as they moved the ball up the field very quickly and created serious attacking threats. Jamie Lovegrove played a large role in the success that the Vaqueros had not only in the defense but also in the defense. In the final moments of the game, the Vaqueros put on a defense show as the Diablos showed serious attacking threat.

“Very good performance not only from myself but also from the rest of the boys. We dug in and went 3-2 down and had to show a little character and we did that tonight. I think that all the way through our keeper deserves man-of-the-match. He made a top save here at the end. We showed character in the second game of the season so hopefully, we can bounce off of that now going against the same group of players and hopefully come out with the same result.” – Jamie Lovegrove (Fort Worth Vaqueros Midfielder)

They did well-covering players but also winning the ball, keeping it, and sending the ball far from the box. What was cool is how the Vaqueros came out and respected the Diablos. How you may ask? They came out with the desire to win and didn’t lay off the Diablos despite it being their first game (it does help when the match that you are playing in is a derby).

Local Soccer

There was something really special about the first game in the Chisholm Trail Classico. There was a healthy showing of Denton and Fort Worth supporters and both the Harbingers and Panther City Hellfire made their presence known. It is unique to spend a Saturday night watching to semi-pro teams play each other in front of their own community. Both teams not only give local players to play in a competitive environment but also give the community to be proud of and to come out and support. While it might not be quite like Texas high school football nights, even though the game was playing at Denton High School’s football stadium, it did have the comradery and an aura similar to that of a high school football game.

It is nice to step away from the hustle and bustle focus on some big teams here in DFW have and to take time find a “hidden gem” in the metroplex that the Diablos and Vaqueros are. I do think that events like this are what really makes the beautiful game what it is.


It’s grassroots soccer taking place where its just 22 people on the pitch playing a game and making the most out of what it is.
Great job Denton Diablos and Fort Worth Vaqueros.

Featured Image: Nico Mendez/Dallas Sports Nation
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