In this, their third year, North Texas Soccer Club has qualified for the USL League One Playoffs and hopes to bring home a second championship.
After numerous roster changes and a slow start (5 losses in the first 10 games), while dealing with a pandemic (facing their own COVID-19 outbreak), North Texas qualified in 6th place and will face Chattanooga Red Wolves SC in the first round of the playoffs.
North Texas locked in their playoff spot after Toronto FC II defeated New England Revolution II then on the last day nearly earned a home playoff game.
“We are young guys and the philosophy is to win,” Eric Quill told 3rd Degree. “I am happy the group has made it in, it’s a new season and we have to win games on the road. There are good and things we need to work on but I believe this team can be champions.”
For instance, North Texas SC is predominantly a young team which is a double-edged sword attribute. The youthfulness allows North Texas to play with an intensity unmatched by any other team in the league.
Though, the experience is where more veteran teams edge out North Texas. That isn’t to say that North Texas will not be a competitive team in the playoffs. North Texas must start games strongly and maintain a high intensity without dropping off over the course of the match.
“Yes, we are upset to have lost out on being able to host a home playoff game but our focus is the first playoff game and playing on the road,” captain and defender Derek Waldeck said. “It’s one game at a time and we are hoping to come out and get a result to keep our season alive.”
North Texas starts in the quarterfinal phase on Saturday, November 6th, at 6 PM. The semifinals will occur over November 12-14 with the final taking place November 19-21. All matches are streamed on ESPN+.
“We have experience from the guys,” Imanol Almaguer explained. “We have to come together as a team and try to keep everyone in the same boat. It’s literally now or never. We have to come together and win.”
Unfortunately, North Texas has drawn the Chattanooga Red Wolves in the first round. Red Wolves are a more mature, physical side that NTX has struggled with this season compiling an 0-2-2 record while being outscored 4 to 2.
Again, maturity is a factor with Lot Toritos giving up a 90+ minute goal in 3 of the 4 meetings. Those late goals allowed the Red Wolves to turn two losses to ties and a tie to a win. NTX will need to solve that late goal issue that has plagued them all year to advance.