By Nick Tattersfield/Lubbock Matadors
The day finally arrived for the Lubbock Matadors’ first game of the season. It was a highly anticipated event that fans have been waiting for a long time now, and they showed up in full force with 4,239 fans in attendance. The game may not have gone the way the Matadors wanted, but this kind of support proves that the Lubbock community is behind this team 100%.
The Matadors came out looking unstoppable, quickly putting pressure on the Vaqueros’ defense. The chemistry between Luke Jones and Juan Valdez Lopez was sensational as they were both breaking down the defense together seemingly whenever they wanted to do it. Then in the eighth minute starting left back Kotaro Hirokawa made a run with the ball down the left sideline and gave Jones a fantastic pass. This gave Jones a shot straight into the net, resulting in the first goal in Matadors’ history.
Everything seemed to be going the Matadors’ way until the 35th minute when Fort Worth struck like lightning with two goals just minutes apart. One came off a corner that the Matadors weren’t able to get to, allowing the Vaqueros midfielder to head in for a goal to tie up the game. In the following possession, the Vaqueros were able to push the ball down the field, and the Matador midfielders couldn’t get back on defense in time. The Vaqueros quickly broke down the defense to score an easy goal. The halftime whistle blew, and the score was Fort Worth 2, Matadors 1.
In the second half, not much changed. The Matadors had a chance to tie the game but Lopez was called offside and the goal was taken away. The Matadors wouldn’t get another chance to score again, and Fort Worth would take on one more goal late in the game.
The game may not have gone the way Lubbock fans wanted, but the Matadors are a talented group. With a long season still ahead, the Matadors will be in the middle of the fight for the Lone Star Conference title.
Matadors head coach Paul Gilbert shared his thoughts on the match.
“We have to look at our play, not our result,” Gilbert said. “Did we commit to who we are, our identity, our principles? This is our focus right now; we were really good for the first 30 minutes. We were a little naive and took our foot off the gas. It’s a great opportunity for us to learn from this.”
The Matadors travel to Fort Worth next week with the hopes of securing the team’s first win.
Photo Courtesy of Lubbock Matadors