Chisholm Trail Clásico returns Saturday in Roja League

Despite the cancellation of the NPSL season, the Chisholm Trail Clásico between the Fort Worth Vaqueros and Denton Diablos lives on this year in the new Roja League.

For the Vaqueros, it’s another opportunity to continue their dominance in the rivalry, but for the Diablos, it’s a chance to finally beat Fort Worth. Since their first encounter in May of 2019, Fort Worth has won all three matches between the two sides, including a dramatic penalty shootout in the 2019 NPSL Playoffs.

Until the Diablos Estudiantes’ 4-2 win over Fort Worth on the opening night of the Roja League, no Diablos-run side had so much as drawn with their biggest rivals.

“Above all, I’m grateful for the opportunity to play a 2020 Chisholm Trail Clasico,” said Denton Diablos co-owner Damon Gochneaur. I’m excited to watch what has historically been very exciting and action-packed games.”

Damon is right; in just 3 prior meetings, the two sides have scored a total of 13 goals, including the frenetic 4-3 season opener last year. And despite just the short history, the rivalry has already taken root with both supporter bases, even stirring up online animosity before a ball was ever kicked.

This definitely extends to the players and coaches. “I know they understand the importance of the game on Saturday,” Gochneaur added, “and they’re excited for the opportunity to make an impact in a highly anticipated match-up with the Vaqueros.”

On the Fort Worth side, Vaqueros general manager Anthony Harris summarized the rivalry. “The Chisholm Trail Clasico is such a great opportunity for the Vaqueros to hold an area derby (Clasico) with another top-level team. And the rivalry that we have going with Denton has always been competitive but in good fun.  Our players enjoy it, our fans love the idea and the winner of a 2 leg series gets to claim title to the Chisholm Trail Clasico belt.”

The fans on the Fort Worth side actively participate as much as Denton, with Fort Worth forming the largest traveling crowd to Denton in 2019.

Fort Worth took the belt soundly with 4-3 and 3-1 wins over Denton during the NPSL Regular Season in 2019. However, Denton may have found a crack in Fort Worth’s armor. The Diablos second team, Diablos Estudiantes, pulled off a massive 4-2 upset win over the senior Vaqueros on Roja League opening night. Fort Worth might find Denton to be a tougher opponent in year 2.

“I love the passion behind the Classico,” Vaqueros defender Joseph Cervantes said. “Since its inception, it has developed and blossomed naturally in a short amount of time. The tension is felt between the players, supporters, and anyone lucky enough to bear witness. With a belt on the line, this isn’t just a fight, it’s always the main event.”

Roja League action kicks off tomorrow at 6 p.m., with the Chisolm Trail Clasico taking place at 8 p.m.

Rio Ramirez 2020
Vaqueros defender Rio Ramirez with the Chisholm Trail Clásico belt. (Courtesy Fort Worth Vaqueros)

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