North Texas SC’s mental mountain versus Houston Dynamo 2 continues as two leads evaporate and they fall in the extra point penalty shootout. North Texas had multiple second-half chances to extend their lead but was unable to convert on the opportunities.
North Texas SC Captain Andre Costa started on the bench, while Nolan Norris continued his run of starts in the midfield. Bernard Kamungo also returned to the XI for North Texas after recent big minutes with FC Dallas.
Norris’ success in the midfield continues as a great turn when receiving the ball that earns his team a foul and a free kick early on in a dangerous position.
GOAL, North Texas! Carl Sainte hit a missile from a free kick which flew past the wall and past the keeper for an incredible goal to put North Texas up 1-0 with 7 minutes played.
Of course, Sainte had to celebrate with his coach, known for his dead ball prowess with FC Dallas, Michel!
17′ GOAL, North Texas! A dream start for North Texas in the Mini Texas Derby, as Kamungo turned his marker inside out off the dribble and cut a pass to Jose Mulato, who made no mistake and fired it home for an early 2-0 lead, Mulato’s third goal of the season.
At 25 minutes in, Hope Avayevu slowed while tracking a ball and grabbed his right hamstring. After walking off gingerly, Hope is replaced by Anthony Ramirez.
Dynamo 2 has the ball in the back of the net after a well-worked move but the flag waved it offsides… but that let-off was only temporary, as Yair Gonzalez ripped a shot from 30 yards that found the bottom corner past Julian Eyestone to bring the visitors within a goal and 10 minutes before the first half whistle.
North Texas would go into the halftime break with their one-goal lead intact, but with cracks beginning to form.
10 minutes into the second half Anthony Ramirez whipped in a beautiful cross that found Bernard Kamungo, but at an awkward height and Bernard skied his shot. Soon after Bernard found free space in the box and cut an inch-perfect pass to Mulato, but his shot was easily smothered.
North Texas continued on the front foot, as Ramirez and Garcia combined beautifully to carve out a North Texas chance, but the ball was cleared before it found Bernard.
SAVE, Eyestone denied Houston an equalizer from close range with an excellent reflex stop. Minutes later Eyestone got big for a huge kick save to preserve his team’s one-goal lead with 20 minutes remaining.
Houston’s persistence pays off, as Jacob Evans cuts hard inside and sends Amet Korca the wrong way then curls home the equalizer.
With less than 10 minutes remaining in the half…GOAL, North Texas! Ramirez got to the end line from a beautiful through ball from Tyshawn Rose and cut it back to Diego Hernandez who slotted it far post to put his team up by one with 8 minutes to play, Hernandez’s first of the season.
30 seconds after a potential penalty for Nayrobi Vargas, Dynamo II leveled the match once again. Vargas had touched the ball past the keeper before a collision between the two but the foul was whistled on Vargas. North Texas is too porous with seconds remaining making the goal much easier.
A penalty shootout for an extra point remained to split the difference.
In penalties, Alejandro Urzua, Henri Santos, Tyshawn Rose, Nayrobi Vargas, and Herbert Endeley all scored their penalties. Andre Costa skied his, Diego Hernandez hit the post, and Amet Korca’s was saved. Despite a good effort, Julian Eyestone was only able to deny Houston twice, as Dynamo Doss win another shootout in Arlington.
Quotes and Takeaways
Much like FC Dallas, North Texas struggles to turn a one-goal lead in the second half into a two-goal lead, and that struggle hurt them tonight. Lots of good chances at the goal while ahead by one.
Anthony Ramirez looked lively after coming on for Hope, but Hope’s impact will be sorely missed if he remains injured for the upcoming matches.
Diego Hernandez is a hard worker who can read the game well, and he scored a well-deserved goal. Post-match, Head Coach Javier Cano spoke highly of him, “I am very happy with Diego [Hernandez] I am very proud of him. Every time he comes onto the field he gives us something. He is a very hard worker, he has a great soccer IQ”
Regarding the setback faced by drawing a game like this, Cano emphasized “We need to keep on believing in our process. In the end… we need to not let our opponent back into the game.”
“I think the mood right now is that it is a tough game and there were a lot of ups and downs and that hurts more.”
MLS Next Pro’s experimental extra-time penalty shootout can be very beneficial for the players, as many youth players can face the nerves and pressures of taking high-leverage penalties but in more common situations.
Despite being on the losing end of the shootout, Julian Eyestone believes in its importance “I think it is fantastic as far as the development aspect, even though it is not like we are getting knocked out of the playoffs we still feel the nerves and the pressure of the penalties.”
The realities of the penalty shootout can be deflating the locker room after a draw, per Julian “The locker room feels it a little bit, all we want to do is go out and win but [referencing last week] going down to San Jose and pulling out a point is something we can look forward to.”
Tyshawn Rose will miss the upcoming match vs first place and undefeated Colorado Rapids 2, as his red card ban from their previous meeting takes effect on this meeting. As an important player in Coach Cano’s system, Cano says they have been trying different players in that position and the next few days will decide the starter.
North Texas SC’s next challenge comes in a home match vs Rapids 2 on Thursday, May 25th.