The scheduling Gods set the Diablos up with an extremely friendly three game home stand to open the season, and the weather gods continued their favorable fortunes as the Diablos enjoyed an absolutely gorgeous evening in beautiful Denton, America. West Texas FC, playing their first season in the NPSL under a new brand, new ownership, and new management, came in with the same record as the Diablos both winning one game and losing one game.
In front of a home crowd of just over 603 people, the Diablos wasted no time in bouncing back from the disappointing result from the weekend. In the 10th minute, Aubry Eason with a crafty ball in to Armando Pelaez Jr, who found himself in the box with time and space, and his well placed shot found the inside of the post, and ricocheted to Edward Mendy, making his Diablos debut, and Mendy pounced on the gift slotting home the opening goal and giving the Diablos a well deserved 1-0 lead.
Just 10 minutes later, Edward Mendy and Kyle Bennett took the throw-in on the near sideline and after a combination of roughyl 6-8 passes back and forth between them, and some nifty footwork and dribbling from Edward Mendy, Mendy slipped the final pass wide to the left to Kyle Bennett, who settled, slipped it back to his thunderous right foot, and curled in the second goal of the game, good for the 2-0 Diablos lead.
Momentum was clearly on the Diablos side as the mid point of the first half neared, and the Diablos, not content with the most dangerous lead in soccer at 2-0, capitalized on the momentum, caught the West Texas FC back line sleeping, and Aubry Eason found himself in behind the defense and one on one with the goal keeper. A series of clever touches saw Eason dance around the keeper, who in a final act of desperation, stretched out his arms and brought down Eason in the box in the 22nd minute. After the usual gamesmanship from West Texas FC, Armando Pelaez Jr stepped to the spot, and as cool as the other side of the pillow, slotted home the third goal of the game, giving the Diablos the 3-0 lead in the 24th minute of the first half.
West Texas FC would not go quietly into the sweet night, and in the 30th minute their threw ball to the right midfielder found him streaking wide open, and the 3 vs 2 advantage was ultimately too much as the cross served in found an unmarked West Texas FC whose shot was nearly saved by the outstretched arms of Kyle Parks, but ultimately the boll tricked in for the first West Texas FC goal of the game and the 3-1 Diablos lead.
Halftime saw head coach Armando Pelaez make one change up top, giving Pelaez Jr a break, and bringing on Antonio Perez. But it was West Texas FC whose halftime adjustments making the biggest impact, as juts 5 minutes after halftime, a penetrating ball from West Texas FC found a streaking defender, and after several unsuccessful challenges, the attacker found himself one on one with Kyle Parks, and with some fancy footwork, the West Texas FC attacker passed in the easy goal, and filled West Texas FC with a new found sense of hope and optimism.
The remaining 42 minutes of the game saw a spirited, high energy affair with both teams creating, and unable to capitalize on, multiple opportunities. After two minutes of stoppage time, the referee in charge blew for full time and the Diablos escaped with an important 3-2 victory, improving to 2-1 on the young season, as the first quarter of our NPSL campaign came to a close.
The Diablos have now scored 6 goals on the season, by 5 different players, with all three goals this evening coming from three different contributors.
The Man of the Match for the game was shared, for the second time this season, with Edward Mendy and Armando Pelaez Jr splitting the honors, after both notched their debut goals, while each tallied an important assist as well.
The Diablos next match is this Saturday May 27th, where the Diablos venture out from the friendly confines of Texas Woman’s University Pioneer Soccer Park, and head south to Round Rock Multi Complex where they’ll face off against Austin United currently 0-1-1 on the season after drawing against San Antonio FC in their season opener and losing a 2-1 game to Gallos FC last week.
The Diablos next home match is Saturday June 3rd, at TWU as we host the return leg against Austin United at 7:30, tickets available now: https://app.gopassage.com/events/diablos0603