North Texas Soccer Club returned to the Sunshine State to play Orlando City B on Thursday night. Los Torolitos wanted to come away with three points after only winning just one game so far this season.
Despite an early goal, North Texas drew against Orlando City B in this, their seventh game of the season.
Thomas Roberts played his first road game of 2020 suggesting he may spend more time with North Texas SC going forward. Alisson moved to the right center-back position for Lamar Batista. Imanol Almaguer and Beni Redzic returned to the gameday roster after suffering injuries against Fort Lauderdale.
Collin Smith was brought down in the penalty box as he dribbled towards goal on the left-side of the 18 yard-box. Oscar Romero scored the penalty in the 24th minute to give North Texas SC the lead.
Jose Quintero leveled the match in the 30th minute after scoring at the far-post from the right side of the 18-yard box.
As the match wore on, Eric Quill brought in Beni Redzic for Oscar Romero in the 70th minute.
David Rodriguez nearly came close to scoring and brought energy after replacing Gibran Rayo in the 75th minute.
Pedro Alves was the final sub in the 89th minute for Collin Smith as North Texas SC was grasping for the goal to secure the three points.
In the end, they couldn’t find a winner and North Texas SC tied their 4th match through 7 games played.
Thoughts & Takeaways
North Texas SC continued to build-from-the-back but with an increase in a variety of passes. NTX outpassed their opponents 388 to 305 and finished the game with at 79.9% pass accuracy.
While there was a slower pace to the game, North Texas SC managed the flow by making vertical passes, through balls, switching direction of play, and playing the ball into space.
The team played with cohesion and an understanding of when and where to move the ball. This was demonstrated by the movement off the ball, which put multiple players in dangerous positions to score.
The team as a whole created 12 key passes (2nd most this season) where each pass created a scoring opportunity. While there were, unfortunately, unconverted opportunities, the ball movement and collective understanding has grown throughout the season.
The Short Season
After seven games, North Texas SC has 7 points and sits in 8th place as they near the half-way point of the season.
As mentioned before, in a full-length season, the struggles and slow start would be of little concern regarding the club’s chances of repeating as USL League One Champions. As it is, the push to finish in the top two spots will become greater with each passing game.
The club is running a brand new team with limited player movement to and from FC Dallas during a pandemic. The flexibility of 2019 does not exist this season.
For these young professionals, who are learning and preparing to provide for the first-time, finding success and competing for success can be one of the best teaching moments of their young careers.
Each game will continue to hold more weight as North Texas SC looks to climb the standings to have a shot to repeat as League One champions. The squad has the potential, though, and the desire to unlock that potential soon.
North Texas SC will head back on the road as they will face FC Tuscon on Saturday, September 12th at 9:30 PM, immediately after FC Dallas finishes the second game of the 2020 Texas Derby.