A second-half surge of four goals propelled North Texas SC to a 4-0 win over Real Monarchs, fueled by outstanding fullback play from Collin Smith and cold-blooded spot kicks.
Recent big news on the North Texas SC front is FC Dallas’ purchase of 19-year-old Colombian striker José Mulato from Deportivo Cali. Mulato will reportedly remain with the MLS Next Pro side until this winter.
Mulato entered the match against Real Monarchs with 7 goals in 16 matches for North Texas in MLS Next Pro matches. A good striker who has a great instinct and physical presence in the box, with a bit of flair and two good feet.
Similar XI to Sunday’s draw in Portland, with Alex Uruza starting in place of Andre Costa. FC Dallas 1st-round picks Lucas Bartlett and Isaiah Parker started in defense.
The first half had just a few chances either way. Just two between Thomas Lacercda and Parker, as well as yellow cards for Jared Aguilar and Hope Avayevu.
The second half held all the action of the match, as Smith earned a penalty for North Texas with fancy footwork in the box. Mulato converted from the spot to give the home side a goal-to-nil advantage.
GOAL North Texas! More good work down the right-hand side by Smith created a goalmouth opportunity, with the rebound falling kindly to Hope Avayevu for his 6th goal of the season and goals in consecutive matches.
In the 76th minute, Luis Miguel replaced the recent goalscorer and 4 minutes later, earns a goal contribution of his own, as he earned a penalty for the home side.
Cool as you like from the spot by Bernard Kamungo, who scored in his 3rd match running to give his side a third goal lead in the dying minutes of the second half. Bernie is now up to 13 on the season and is 3 shy from Ronaldo Damus‘ club record.
After three second-half goals, the match was all but over, but a rebound off a post led to yet another late goal for North Texas, as Pablo Torre rippled the net from close range to close out the match.
Thoughts and Takeaways
A huge clean sheet for Antonio Carrera and the North Texas back line that was well deserved. Halftime changes by Coach Pah Modou Kah and the team were instrumental in the late surge.
“[Real Monarchs] look a lot for the channel ball, trying to get wide switches” North Texas defender Paul Amedume said when noting what contributed the most to the team’s clean sheet tonight, “We made a good adjustment in the second half and our fullbacks did a good job covering their wingers and shut them down”
Collin Smith had another great game at right back, with his defensive work in training coming through as well as his offensive prowess on full display through his contributions to the first two goals.
Head Coach Pah Modou Kah had wise words for the team in training that echoed throughout this game, as fullback Smith noted “Pah told me many times that you have to let the game come to you… in the first half I was not executing what we worked on… At halftime I was able to work on it and let the game come to me” notching an assist on a penalty and creating the play that led to the second goal in the second half.
About Smith’s performance tonight, Kah said “He is a dream to work with… he has taken great steps in his own development and in the second half was our secret weapon going forward”
On the note of the young starting midfield, Coach Kah said “It is about earning the right to play, and those two earned the right.” It was a young midfield with two of the three starting mids, Alex Uruza and Jared Aguilar, both being under 18 years old.
As for the missing Blaine Ferri who carried the midfield most of the first half of the year, “Blaine been training, we just decided that we’d rather go through this, sometimes people have a dip. When he’s on his game he is a difference maker for us.”
Coach Kah also noted that it is important that despite previous results, it is important to “Trust the process, we know who we are and what we want to achieve”
North Texas travels to Colorado to take on Rapids 2 next Sunday, the 21st of August.