It was do-or-die for North Texas SC in their final meeting against their El Plastico rivals to stay alive in the playoff hunt. After it was all said and done North Texas SC came away with the 1-0 win.
North Texas SC sits in 4th place with 24 points, 2 points behind second-place Richmond Kickers.
Eric Quill was not afraid to change up his lineup as Kevin Bonilla was introduced into the starting lineup while Eddie Munjoma played as the right-wing.
Gibran Rayo was the first substitution for North Texas SC as he came in for Alex Bruce in the 63rd minute. Derek Waldeck made way for Beni Redzic in the 79th minute. Collin Smith was the final substitution of the game as he replaced Edwin Cerrillo in the 88th.
Just as it seemed to be over for North Texas SC, Arturo Rodriguez was fouled just inside the penalty box which resulted in his conversion of the penalty kick, keeping North Texas SC’s playoff hopes alive.
The match finished 1-0 in North Texas SC’s favor.
Thought & Takeaways
In usual fashion, North Texas SC wanted to build out from the backline with their attack, choosing to go down the flanks.
Though, two things stood out regarding North Texas’ attacking play: continued play down the flanks and how deep the back-line played.
Forward Madison did well to put pressure against the North Texas backline as they tried to subdue the success North Texas SC could have going forward.
With Roberts missing, Eric Quill chose to bring in Alisson alongside Edwin Cerrillo, which provide more defensive support to the North Texas backline.
As a result of the higher number of defensive players, this naturally lead to the whole team playing a little deeper within their own half
The combination of Cerrillo and Alisson also aided in subduing the attacking threat of Forward Madison.
Since Forward Madison FC emphasized clogging the middle of the field, North Texas SC was pushed out wide where they typically chose to build their attack.
While both teams were cautious in their attack at the beginning of the game, North Texas SC ramped up its attack as the game wore on.
It took a while before North Texas SC was able to be able to consistently threaten Forward Madison’s backline different factors impacted how quickly North Texas SC was able to attack.
Was playing on turf impact North Texas’ game? Maybe, though North Texas also plays on turf, granted, a high-quality turf. The turf game was played on did cause a couple of heavy touches and slips from North Texas SC.
Was it the rain? The on-and-off rain definitely impacted the players’ ability to control the ball and water-logged parts of the pitch.
Despite the conditions, North Texas SC was able to come away with a needed win, even though it may have not been in the manner they hoped for.
While North Texas SC would’ve desired to be in complete control of their own fate, they will need the Richmond Kickers and Union Omaha to drop points while winning their own game against South Georgia Tormenta FC to make it into the playoffs.
The last-minute dramatics in this game has to give the players a massive morale and momentum boost going into the last game.
Despite the result, the mood easilty could’ve been “too-little-too-late” given the slow start from both clubs.
The players must start the game going at their opponent and dictating the tempo and mood of the game, which they have demonstrated they are capable of, and will want to replicate on the last day.
North Texas SC will play South Georgia Tormenta FC on the final day of the season at Globe Life Park on Saturday, October 24th, at 7:30 PM. They need a win, and help from the league, to make the USL League One Final.