North Texas Soccer Club traveled to Madison, Wisconsin to face their El Plastico rivals Forward Madison FC for the final time in 2021 on Saturday night. After trailing for most of the game, North Texas SC got a late goal to come away with a 1-1 draw, a point, and now carry a 7-game unbeaten streak.
Four changes were made to the starting lineup for North Texas after the 1-1 draw earlier in the week with Chattanooga Red Wolves. Rio Ramirez made his return to the backline along with Collin Smith. Mikey Maldonado lined up next to Imanol Almaguer in the midfield while Gabriel de Morais returned as the striker.
In the 10th minute, Ryan Sierakowski gave Forward Madison the early lead with a header, assisted by Cyrus Rad.
Bernard Kamungo replaced Gabriel de Morais in the 65th minute as North Texas’ first change.
Alex Bruce, Mark Salas, and Thibaut Jacquel replaced Kazu, Collin Smith, and Derek Waldeck respectively in the 76th minute.
Thibaut Jacquel, making his first appearance in nearly a month, got a late-minute goal from a freekick in the 90+1′ minute.
Imanol Almaguer was shown a red card in the 90+4′ minute.
With the last kick in the game, North Texas SC and Forward Madison FC tied 1-1.
Thoughts & Takeaways
North Texas has done well to start games with a dominant grasp. This has played a large role in the unbeaten streak that the club has built allowing them to climb up the standings.
Forward Madison did well to shift their shape and commit numbers onto North Texas players who were in possession of the ball. Once in possession, Forward Madison was quick to transition and move the ball up the field.
Both teams are characterized by playing quick and direct style leading to the game having a back-and-forth flow with both sides making attempts to get into each other’s box.
Though North Texas was able to gain an advantage through their ability to create passing combinations across the whole field, forcing Forward Madison to retreat more into their own half.
Second Half Surge
A big area of growth for North Texas has been their response in-game. Not only did North Texas respond after going down a goal but they were able to execute an attack-minded game plan.
The urgency that North Texas is known for returned at the start of the second half and the players forced Forward Madison back into their own box.
While the result wasn’t entirely in North Texas’ favor, the overall play and collective ability to attack and apply constant pressure against Forward Madison will bode well for the team as they continue to make a push for the playoffs and during a potential playoff run.
North Texas has 24 points through 17 games and sits in 5th place. North Texas SC will head back on the road for the third consecutive match to face Union Omaha on Saturday, August 28th, at 7 PM.