Late goals galore as “La Muralla” shines in PK shootout

North Texas Soccer Club traveled to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park to face off against the Colorado Rapids 2 last night. The Rapids scored late in the game to secure a stoppage-time equalizer. North Texas then won in the PK shootout 3-0 to secure an additional point as the hunt for the playoffs continues.

The Game

Coach Pa-Madou Kah made two changes from their recent win against the Real Monarchs. Andre Costa and Blake Pope returned to the starting eleven.

North Texas Soccer Club Starting XI against the Colorado Rapids 2

Carl Sainté made his debut at halftime as he came in for Tomás Lacerda.

Luis Cardoso entered for Jose Mulato in the 80th minute.

Nolan Norris substituted in for Paul Amedume in the 84th minute.

Andre Costa gave North Texas the late lead with a rocket of a goal in the 88th minute.

Alejandro Araneda was the final addition to the game replacing Hope Avayevu in the 90th minute.

Michael Edwards made the game level in the 90+2′ minute for Colorado.

North Texas SC drew the match 1-1 while winning the PK shootout 3-0. The Colorado Rapids 2 are eliminated from playoff contention.

The North Texas penalty shooters in order: Luis Cardoso (scored), Carl Sainte (scored), and Blake Pope (scored) as Carrera saved the first, second, and partially the third (missed shot) PKs.

North Texas SC starting lineup against the Colorado Rapids 2 (Courtesy North Texas SC)

Thoughts & Takeaways

Game Reading

One of the most extensive areas of improvement for North Texas this season is their ability to read the game as it develops.

Starting as a group with individual talent they are now a team with the ability to combine as a single unit, North Texas exemplified their ability to play as a unit by reading Colorado’s movement both on and off the ball.

“[Colordo] did a good job finding space in between us,” Kah said of Colorado’s gameplan. “If you look at the game overall as a whole, we had the better possibilities and chances. We could have done a better job moving the ball side to side. We were a little impatient but I thought the response was fantastic and it is a learning and growing point for them.”

Colorado started the game pressing North Texas high up the field. The North Texas players did well to move the ball along the backline and were patient when picking their movements to move the ball forward.

“Colorado came out pressing a lot so that was a little difficult,” Pope said. “Sometimes we can’t press as much since we normally like to go at times. We got the hang of it at the end and felt better at the end of the game.”

When going forward, the quick passing from the midfield enabled Kamungo and Avayevu to run into space placing them in favorable scoring positions.

Defensively, North Texas was quick to transition when losing the ball and committed to putting numbers in front of the ball, limiting the options Colorado had going forward.

Going Forward

Credit must be given to Rapids for giving North Texas a competitive game. With the Rapids’ post-season hopes on the line, North Texas was in numerous uncomfortable positions.

The focus throughout the game and the remaining games of the season will be critical to North Texas’ playoff hopes.

“We had a couple of chances in the first half that we could’ve buried. I love how the boys fought until the end meant that we deserved to get the win,” said Kah. “The fight from this group is fantastic. Though we could’ve done better and these are the learning points that they need to grow.”

The unity between the players has become more critical not only for North Texas’ ability to secure a playoff berth but also for making a deep run during the knockout stages.

This unity was evident in the player’s persistence to score and get up the field during the late stages of the games.

“I truly think that we are a family here,” Pope said of the team unity. “We are truly a compact and together squad on this team. It shows on the field since we trust each other and we trust each other in the games and it will help in the playoffs.”

North Texas gets a weekend off before facing Minnesota United 2 on Saturday, September 3rd at 6 PM.

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