Saturday’s Roja League Semi-finals saw four of the top local teams across the Metroplex competing for a chance at a championship title next week, with Open Cup veterans NTX Rayados taking on the Diablos Estudiantes and Inocentes FC playing the senior Denton Diablos.
Whether it was home-field advantage, passionate support from the Denton Harbingers, or maybe Denton really is that good, the result stands. Denton swept the night, leading to an All-Denton, All-Diablos final.
Estudiantes and Rayados kicked off the night with a rematch of matchday 2, and once again the Diablos Estudiantes came away victorious. Rayados kept fighting – literally, at one point – up until the very end, but the Estudiantes struck first and often to comfortably lead 3-1 for much of the match, and despite conceding late, secured a 3-2 win to put them through to the final.
The match was marred by a minor kerfuffle between the two sides (yes, literally fighting), something that’s not particularly surprising given the previous animosity between Rayados and both Diablos teams. Add in a handful of former Vaqueros on the Rayados, a hot night in Denton, and a championship final on the line, and you’re left with a recipe for fisticuffs.
Following the eventful opening match, the undefeated Inocentes FC took on the senior Denton Diablos side, striking first as they did so often through Roja League play, taking a 1-0 lead to the halftime break.
The Diablos rallied in the 2nd half, first equalizing, then breaking through to finally lead Inocentes 2-1. Diablos held out for the narrow win, completing the sweep for Denton and ensuring an all Denton championship final on Wednesday.
Wednesday’s championship match will be held at the Vela Soccer Complex in Denton at 7:30 p.m. Tickets will be available from the Roja League website, and the game will be streamed by the Diablos on Facebook.