After a commanding win against Forward Madison FC, North Texas Soccer Club had an opportunity at revenge against Chattanooga Red Wolves SC, a team that has already beaten North Texas SC at home this year.
After a slow start and scrappy second half, North Texas SC got the lead and was close to getting the back-to-back win until Chattanooga got the last-minute goal to bring the game level 1-1.
Richard Sanchez got his second consecutive start while Derek Waldeck made his return to the starting eleven. Kazu, after scoring 3 goals in two games started at the left-wing while Kalil ElMedkhar moved to right-wing.
It was a quiet first half with Nicky Hernandez nearly opening the scoring but was rule offside.
Nicky Hernadez wasn’t discouraged and got North Texas SC on the scoreboard after heading Derek Waldeck’s cross in the 57th minute.
Bernard Kamungo, hoping to light up the final third, replaced Kazu in the 63rd minute.
Nicky Hernadez, after going doing down with a possible injury, was substituted for Alex Bruce in the 75th minute.
Eddie Munjoma got a second yellow card and was subsequently sent off in the 90th minute.
Collin Smith, Mikey Maldonado, and Mark Salas were all introduced to the game for Derek Waldeck, Imanol Almaguer, and Kalil ElMedkhar in the 90th minute.
It was the last kick of the game that allowed the Red Wolves to come back into the game bringing the score level.
In spite of coming close to getting all three points, North Texas SC tied the Chattanooga Red Wolves 1-1.
Thoughts & Takeaways
North Texas SC had a big task ahead of themselves if they were going to earn points against the third-best road team in the league.
Both sides prefer to play a high-tempo game that emphasizes passing combinations between players to open up space to create scoring opportunities. The first half wasn’t the norm for either side when it came to the speed of play.
Chattanooga, coming into this game with a slew of injuries, started by sitting deep in their half while counter-attacking, while North Texas didn’t move up the field with the same vigor as other games but built up their intensity towards the end of the first half. An intensity that the club carried into the second-half
It wasn’t North Texas’ best game this season but it was one of the most meaningful and well-fought games played in 2021.
“I thought we did a good job for the majority of the game getting behind the ball and limiting their chances,” Derek Waldeck said. “When we were broken down we did well to get back and recover the ball. I don’t know what the stats say but it felt that we did a good job to limit their chances.”
Recent games for North Texas have about the club overcoming mental and self-inflicted mistakes. With each passing game, the management and concentration during the whole game has improved significantly.
Given the scrappy nature of the game, the North Texas players fought well to continue to push for a goal and, after obtaining the lead, making efforts to limit the success that Chattanooga would have.
“Disappointed we couldn’t see the game out,” Quill said about the game. “We did our part throughout the whole game but it’s hard. Hopefully, the guys learn from this moment and we can’t switch off. It’s a tough lesson to swallow.”
This grind-it-out mentality the club displayed will serve as a great momentum builder and mentality for the remainder of the season.
Down The Road
North Texas gets an extra week to prepare for their next game against a Union Omaha side that is a serious and challenging team to face, especially at home.
NTX begins a “difficult” part of their schedule playing 5 of 6 games on the road: Union Omaha, FC Tucson, North Carolina FC (home), Chattanooga Red Wolves, Forward Madison FC, and Union Omaha.
An ideal situation has North Texas coming away with points in each of these games which will set up a good foundation for the team’s playoff push heading into the final portion of the season.
“We had a lot of positives to take away from the game tonight,” Waldeck said. “We were just two minutes away from coming away with a big result. We have to get ready for the road and we can’t feel sorry for ourselves too long.”
If the club can limit self-created mistakes and come out strong in each of these games, there is reason to believe the players can grind out results and earn points on the road.
North Texas SC has 15 points through 12 games and sits in 11th place, dropping one position, as they head into their “bye-week”. North Texas SC head North to face Union Omaha, who eliminated North Texas SC from the 2020 USL League One Final on the last day of the season, on Saturday, July 31st, at 7 PM.