North Texas Soccer Club headed on the road for the second weekend in a row to face the Richmond Kickers.
After returning from the summer international break with a 1-1-1 record, North Texas SC lost their first game to the Richmond Kickers with a 3-2 comeback win for the home side.
Eddie Munjoma made his first start with North Texas SC for the first time in 2021 along with 20-year-old midfielder Blaine Ferri. Kazu took up a new position playing as a winger rather than his normal role along the backline.
The move to put Kazu as a winger paid dividends as he scored North Texas’ first goal in over 2 games to give his club the lead in the first half in the 26th minute thanks to Gibran Rayo’s pass to put Kazu in on goal.
In spite of the early goal, Richmond got their first goal against the run of play after the initial shot was blocked with the subsequent cross from Juan Pablo Monticelli finding Emiliano Terzaghi just in front of goal in the 34th minute.
Imanol “Imagol” Almaguer got his second goal of the season and North Texas’ second of the game to regain the lead in the 41st minute assisted by Nicky Hernandez.
Emiliano Terzaghi brought Richmond level from the penalty spot in the 52nd minute.
Gibran Rayo and Kazu made way for Alex Bruce and Derek Waldeck in the 65th minute.
Jonathan Bolanos played what initially looked to be a cross that hit the far post and went into the goal to give Richmond the lead in the 71st minute.
Mickey Maldonado and Hope Avayevu replaced Blaine Ferri and Nicky Hernandez in the 75th minute.
Thibaut Jacquel was the final sub replacing Collin Smith in the 86th minute.
In spite of last-minute efforts, North Texas SC suffered their first loss against the Richmond Kickers with a final score of 2-3.
Thoughts & Takeaways
It’s no secret that North Texas SC has struggled to gain a lead early in the game and is not known for scoring first. Eric Quill has wanted to change this trend with his team.
North Texas pressed Richmond from the start of the game which forced Richmond, a team who likes to have the ball and build their attack slowly, to play long balls and quicker which gave North North Texas opportunities to win the ball.
This high press lead to a flurry of scoring opportunities in the first half and North Texas got the two first-half goals, something that has proven to be elusive this far in the season.
Having the likes of Eddie Munjoma and Collin Smith, both players who look to get forward in the attack using their speed, added balance and an extra presence on the wings for North Texas.
This aided the North Texas attack by adding two extra players on the wing that could play crosses into the box as well as allowing the wingers to cut inwards.
On top of their defensive responsibilities, both full-backs contributed more to the interior of the field than they did into the box which took advantage of Nicky Hernandez’s ability to create chances and allowing Imanol Almaguer and Blaine Ferri to reset the attack.
An area of North Texas’ game that is under constant improvement is the team’s game management and with young players, it’s a new challenge each year for the club.
With the club wanting to control the game from the start and having struggled to score first, this game provided an opportunity for the players to demonstrate their ability to control a game when gaining the lead.
After conceding the lead twice, North Texas didn’t appear defeated and continued to press forward up the field to regain the lead. Even after going down a third goal, the players’ perseverance was commendable and North Texas was the more threatening team and created quality chances.
This is a large improvement from the team as a whole and the consistency from the team to continue to attack throughout the full game along with the energy is made for an entertaining game.
The results have not gone in North Texas’ favor but the response from the players indicated that there is team chemistry and unity that will bode well for the club and players in the long run.
North Texas SC now sits in 10th through 10 games with 11 points, completing the first third of the season. North Texas SC returns home to place against their El Plastico rivals Forward Madison FC on Saturday, July 10th, at 8:00 PM.