North Texas Soccer Club faced off against Saint Louis City 2 in their first match of the 2022 MLS Next Pro playoffs. It was, in fact, their first-ever Next Pro playoff period after moving over from USL-1 this year.
The match was a back-and-forth affair for both sides but Saint Louis City 2 was able to put two goals past North Texas SC to advance to the Western Conference Finals.
Jimmy Maurer was the most notable addition to the starting lineup as his services were called upon the back line.
Tomas Ostrak got the opening goal of the game for Saint Louis City 2 in the 73rd minute.
Luis Miguel entered for Tarik Scott in the 74th minute.
Pablo Torre replaced Isaiah Parker in the 83rd minute.
Blake Pope was the final addition, coming in for Will Baker in the 87th minute.
Celio Pompeu sealed the deal for Saint Louis after converting his penalty in the 90’+1′ minute.
Saint Louis City defeated North Texas SC 2-0 to advance to the Western Conference Finals.
Thoughts & Takeaways
In comparison to their most recent meeting, North Texas and Saint Louis looked to be two evenly matched sides. Little distinguished the two teams throughout the match.
“It was a very even match,” Coach Pah said of the game. “There was alot going back and forth for both sides. It was a real playoff game. That’s just how the game goes.”
Both teams had matching energy, resulting in both sides quickly transitioning and moving up the field quickly when recovering the ball.
“They had chances, we had chances, it could’ve gone either way really,” Blaine Ferri said. “It’s really unfortunate but that just the way its goes.”
Similarly, both sides had to defend continuously, pulling out remarkable defensive plays to subdue the opposition’s attack.
Change of View
Coming into the second half, both sides appeared more reserved and played with caution in comparison to the start of the first half.
From North Texas’ perspective, they continued to play their game but were decisive and tactful with their position and progression up the field.
“We wanted to continue to play our game as the game went on,” Pah explained. “We continued to battle and we put everything on the field at the end. We played our game.”
North Texas favored moving the ball to create to unlock the forwards, wanting to make the most of their possession.
In the end, North Texas’ season finishes on the road in the first round of the playoffs. In spite of their best efforts and playing a quality game, the 2022 season comes to an end.
While the loss will hurt for the club, long term the players and the coaching staff can be proud of all that they have accomplished over the long season.
“This is a younger team,” Ferri said of his team. “The progress that we have made is unreal. Coach Pah has helped us with that and this is going to be one the teams that I will remember.”
Coach Pah and his players showed remarkable growth to come together as a team under a new coach with a massive roster turnover.
“I’m sad that this is over and I am gutted for the guys,” Coach Pah said looking back at the season. “They have worked so hard and we have come so far since February. It has been a blessing all season long. I am very proud of the group. This is a team with high potential and there is plenty more to go.
The foundation has been laid by Pah-Modou Kah and his staff and the players have shown their potential not only as players but as a team that can compete for seasons to come.