North Texas Soccer hosted the Portland Timbers 2 in MLS Next Pro’s Game of the Week.
North Texas SC extended their winning streak to 4 games with a 2-1 win over Timbers 2 and remain unbeaten in their last 4 games.
Antonio “La Muralla” Carrera was called up to the USYNT letting Felipe Carneiro start between the pipes. Paul Amedume replaced Lucas Bartlett in the back line.
Jose Mulato opened the scoring early in the 12th minute to give North Texas the lead and his third goal of the year.
Bernard Kamungo got his 7th goal of the season with a 19th-minute penalty, doubling the lead.
Gogo Peters brought the game a little closer for the Timbers in the 43rd minute, making the game 2-1.
Santiago Ferreira came into the game for Hope Avayevu in the 61st minute.
Academy product Alejandro Urzua replaced Blaine Ferri in the 75th minute.
Luis Miguel and Pablo Torre were the final substitutes of the game coming in for Jose Mulato and Collin Smith respectively in the 83rd minute.
North Texas secured the three points with a 2-1 win over the Portland Timbers 2.
Thoughts & Takeaways
The midfield three of Andre Costa, Blaine Ferri, and Hope Avayevu really exemplifies the skill that North Texas, as a whole, entails: the ability to play as a unit flexibly while having individual freedom.
“I think it’s coming together slowly, especially with the guys coming off the bench,” Ferri said of the midfield. “I think that we all complement each other and I like playing with them.
Costa and Ferri constantly played off each other throughout the game. Throughout the game, one player dropped deeper (usually Ferri) while the other sat higher on one side of the field. This staggered layering allowed for the buildup play to be directed in one direction and functioned as a way to open space in the field.
“You are always searching for a good balance when you have a squad,” North Texas SC Head Coach Pa-Modou Kah said. “This is especially true for the midfield since they control the game. We do have creative players in Blaine [Ferri], Andre [Costa], and Hope [Avayevu]. Those three complement each other with the other players on the team.”
Avayevu had the read to roam in the area between the front-line and the midfield duo of Ferri and Acosta giving his space to run with the ball and create opportunities for the forwards or himself going forward.
Plenty of credit needs to be given to Coach Kah and his coaching staff for taking in a brand new set of players and creating a competitive team that has a target on their back as “the team to beat” in MLS Next Pro.
“We know that we win together and we lose together,” defender Alejandro Araneda said of the team’s discipline. “It’s on all of us. It is not on one person. Pa expects a lot from us so we have to play to a high standard.”
Kah has stressed numerous times over the course of the season how he wants to build the person behind the player and is supportive but demanding in a well-balanced act.
“It’s a learning process for them in the professional environment,” Kah explained. “Learning how to win is the hardest thing to do. When you look at today’s game, there were sequences of what you were trying to see what they were doing. Though we don’t want to get comfortable, we want to see a growth mindset. We are never satisfied and we want to keep going.”
Even playing against a team that has a less than stellar record, North Texas SC has respected each of their opponents by playing their best possible game not just from the start but the entire ninety minutes of the game.
Blaine Ferri has been put in a more quiet role than he had last season. Playing positionally as a 6, his ball skills and distribution have been a well-needed addition centrally to completely the fullback contribution in the buildup play.
Andre Costa has shown growth and maturity in his game. Playing with plenty of energy, Costa is a player comfortable with the ball on his feet and improved his decision-making when it comes to playing critical passes and taking on players.
Blake Pope is another player that has made strides quietly over the course of the season. Having been employed both as a winger and fullback on the right flank, his ability to get forward and contribute passes interiorly has been an effective attacking piece like his left-flank counterpart Isaiah Parker.
North Texas SC will head back on the road to face the Vancouver Whitecaps 2 on Friday, June 17th at 9 PM Central.