North Texas Soccer Club traveled north to play Union Omaha for the second of four meetings in 2021. In spite of multiple opportunities at goal from both sides, the game finished scoreless as North Texas SC extends their unbeaten streak to 8 games.
Mark Salas made his appearance in the backline next to Caiser Gomes while Mikey Maldonado played as the central midfielder. Collin Shutler returned between the posts as he tried to play the ball more with his backline.
While no goals were scored in the first half, North Texas made every effort to create scoring opportunities. The players continued to control most of the ball with 57% possession leading to 6 shots with 2 on target.
Thibaut Jacquel entered for Gabriel de Morais in the 77th minute. Rio Ramirez entered in the 84th minute for Blaine Ferri. Alex Bruce, Hope Avayevu, and Devin Benton replaced Nicky Hernandez, Kazu, and Gibran Rayo respectively in the 87th minute.
The match finished scoreless, with North Texas earning a valuable road point.
Thoughts & Takeaways
There was a noticeable direction of attack from North Texas given the nature of the opposition and conditions. The preferred side of the field was the one that didn’t involve sod and featured a more uniform surface.
Interestingly, Union Omaha preferred to attack the side with sod, which is arguably an advantage that Omaha has become accustomed to.
This lopsided direction of attack led to the ball being cycled around the field and required both teams to be quick to transition. This change tended to favor North Texas with the overall speed of the team.
Mikey Maldonado and Blaine Ferri were quick to change the direction and shape of the team to create balance across the whole field.
Change of Attack
As a result of the lopsided direction of attack, North Texas had to adapt its attacking method.
Typically, North Texas tends to play quick passing sequences involving multiple players. This style wasn’t enough for North Texas and their attackers.
In the second half, the game became more vertically with North Texas playing long balls and moving the ball quickly up the field rather than building the play horizontally.
The increased verticality complemented North Texas’ growing ability to increase the tempo and energy as the second half progresses. This season-long development has allowed North Texas to tackle one of its biggest goals each year: remaining competitive throughout the entire game.
North Texas has 25 points in 18 games and sits in 4th place. North Texas returns home on Saturday, September 4th, at 8 PM hosting FC Tucson.