North Texas racks up 3 more home points with 2-1 win over Timbers 2

North Texas SC rode a strong first half to a 2-1 victory over Portland Timbers FC 2, with goals from Diego Garcia and Pedrinho.

The Match

North Texas’ successful top line of attackers all started together, with Tarik Scott being flanked by Enes Sali and Pedrinho atop a 4-3-3 – that was a change form the usual 3-4-3. Tomas Pondeca joined Garcia and Nico Mendonca in the 3-man midfield.

The North Texas SC XI vs Timbers 2 on May 18, 2024.
The North Texas SC XI vs Timbers 2 on May 18, 2024.
The North Texas SC 4-3-3 prior to kickoff against Timbers 2, May 18, 2024. (Buzz Carrick, 3rd Degree)

Just over 7 minutes into the match… GOAL North Texas! Tarik Scott stole the ball in midfield, made a deep run into the box, and squared it to Enes Sali, who squared it to Diego Garcia and into the net for an early lead for the home side.

North Texas continued to impose their will on the match after their opening goal, with much of the match played in the Timbers 2 defensive end, and no chances created for Portland.

North Texas doubled their lead in the 34th minute after an errant clearance from the Portland goalkeeper was intercepted by Pedrinho, who burst into the box, cut inside, and curled it home!

The first chance of the night for the away side came after a blocked shot was controlled inside the box but the shot that ensued did not trouble Michael Collodi in net.

Portland earned a penalty in the 40th minute after Nico Gordon impeded an attacker in the box

But the penalty was missed! After a sauntering run-up by the Portland player, his kick from the spot hits the post and goes wide!

Just a few minutes after the penalty miss, Collodi is forced to come up big after a route one chance in the box for Portland.

After two beautiful goals, a penalty miss, and a big save from Collodi, North Texas went into the halftime break with a two-goal lead.

Half a minute after the second-half restart, Portland came close to pulling one back, after a clearance fell back to a Portland attacker but his volley goes just wide.

Portland kept knocking on the door, as Collodi had to come far out of his net to cut out a Timbers 2 chance.

Portland eventually got one back through an unmarked header in the center of the box following a free kick outside the box.

At the hour mark, Portland kept buzzing with two more solid chances, the first a cross into the box cut out by Nicholas Mendoca, and the second a shot inside the box that fizzed just past the far post.

After much stagnation from the home side, Portland had a chance to equalize after an aggressive Collodi was rounded but the Portland attacker was unable to get a shot off before the ball rolled out past the end line.

The last good opportunity Portland had to equalize before the end of the match came in the 85th minute, as a powerful curler was unleashed from outside the box, but Collodi picked it out of the air and held onto it.

North Texas held on and came away with all three points, putting them on top of the Western Conference in MLS Next Pro.

The Man of the Match hat went to Pedrinho, after his dazzling display to double North Texas’ lead in the first half.

Quotes and Takeaways

North Texas has had an incredible start to the year, joint best in the goals-against category with St Louis, who has a game still to play. The defensive work and effort by the team have been immense, with every player in the XI tracking back and playing hard defensively. The creativity and ability of Sali and Pedrinho behind the strength of Tarik Scott form a formidable attacking trio.

“It was a positive team performance, we knew today was going to be a grind, especially after losing last weekend,” Head Coach John Gall said after the match, “We got ourselves in good positions, we knew they were gonna do those things.”

On standout performances in the match, Coach Gall emphasized the team performance, but also mentioned that “Diego Garcia especially, working hard like he always does for the team” and “Enes looked dangerous in the first half.”

Gall mentioned the team’s struggles on set piece plays, saying “Little bit disappointed in giving away a goal on a set piece. Does not seem to be going our way at this moment.” He emphasized that it is something the team has been and will continue to work on.

Man of the Match, Pedrinho, said on his performance after the match “I am very happy, and a good game and three more points, good job today and more this weekend.”

North Texas will continue at home when they take on Real Monarchs on Friday, May 24th.

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