It was the 2019 USL League One Final rematch as North Texas Soccer Club traveled to play Greenville Triumph SC on Friday night. While both sides had quality chances, Greenville was able to come away with all three points after the 90 minutes.
Ricardo Pepi was the newest edition to Eric Quill’s side, suggesting that Pepi has the antibodies which allows him to move between North Texas SC and FC Dallas.
Brecc Evans was forced to be subbed out just four minutes into the game after sliding into the post to prevent a Greenville scoring opportunity.
Kevin Bonilla replaced Evans and played right-back, Alisson filled in for Evans, and Alvarez played as a 6. Late in the game, Coach quill reverted this change by moving Alisson to the 6, Alvarez to right back, and Bonilla of all people to center back.
The next North Texas SC substitution occurred in the 61st minute as Ricardo Pepi and Collin Smith made way for Ronaldo Damus and Beni Redzic respectively.
Jake Keegan give Greenville the lead in the 86th minute on a quick transition of play.
David Rodriguez was the final substitution for North Texas SC as he replaced Derek Waldeck, hoping to provide his team some hope in the final moments.
North Texas SC was shutout 0-1 after Greenville’s lone goal.
Thoughts & Takeaways
North Texas SC has recently found their form when it comes to playing as a whole unit. The tactical ideas and principles have been solidified with all the players in the team.
The inclusion of players such as Thomas Roberts, Arturo Rodriguez, and Nicky Hernandez has elevated the quality of play for the team.
When playing against Greenville (9 wins, 2 losses, and 1 draw), North Texas SC had to play their best if they wanted to come away with a result. The matched finished relatively even statistically: 53.8% possession, 43% duel success rate, 45.7% aerial duels won, and 385 passes (to Greenville’s 322) for North Texas.
While many of the critical moments of the game occurred in 18-yard box of both teams, the game was played primarily in the middle of the grass.
While the substitution of Brecc Evans did destabilize the defensive line, Greenville’s goal resulted from confusion amongst the North Texas SC defenders.
For a team that has struggled to earn points, the fight from Coach Quill’s young squad is something that he has praised throughout the season.
One of Eric Quill’s best coaching attributes is his ability to switch his gameplan at halftime.
The match against Greenville was not an exception as North Texas SC started with playing quickly and building out of the back, preferring to create passing combinations to break through lines and create space.
Coach Quill had his team play more vertically and instructed his players to make passes that break through Greenville’s defensive set-up.
North Texas SC did gain control of the game in the second half but, as was the case for both teams, the final pass/play that could unlock a flurry of goals was not present.
With six games remaining in North Texas SC’s schedule, it goes without saying that the remaining games are critical to the club’s desire to repeat as champions.
North Texas SC has demonstrated throughout the season that they can compete with any team in the league. The team has the ability to respond to adversity during the game.
Does North Texas SC form vary, playing down/up to the level of their opponents? Greenville is the best team in the league and NTX remained competitive throughout the full game. But the local side also drew against last-place Orlando City B.
North Texas SC could benefit by dictating the mood of the game from the first whistle and refrain from having to respond to scenarios that unfold during the course of the match.
If the club is able to overcome this hurdle, they can make a serious run. In the last part of the season, building momentum is what matters the most as clubs push for the Final.
After Friday’s result, North Texas SC sat in 9th place with 11 points through 10 games. The club is 7 points behind 2nd place.
North Texas SC returns home to play against Fort Lauderdale CF on Saturday, October 3rd, at 5:30 PM.