“If you don’t get excited for a rivalry, this isn’t the sport for you” John Gall’s halftime speech to his men echoed in their ears and it motivated them to a three-goal second-half performance to come away with a 3-1 victory over rivals Houston Dynamo 2.
Homegrown Dylan Lacy got his first North Texas start in the midfield, with Herbert Endeley on the right wing and Malachi Molina at right back. The captain, Andre Costa, continues at left back.
North Texas started the game on the back foot, as they struggled to maintain positive possession. Antonio Carrera was forced into his first big save of the game after 15 minutes.
North Texas conceded a corner after another good Carrera save, then a few passes from the resulting corner found an unmarked Dynamo attacker at the back post for an easy finish to put the hosts up 1-0 at the 30-minute mark.
Pondeca nearly leveled the match after a pass from Molina, but his shot did not ripple the net.
Going into the halftime break, North Texas trailed 1-0, with 45 minutes left to play to turn it around.
After a motivational team talk at halftime, North Texas came out after halftime and began more on the front foot and more aggressive on the ball.
After 14 minutes of positive football after the half, North Texas found their equalizer!
After a bursting run into the box, Endeley sent a cross to the far post for Jose Mulato, who smashed it home to equalize for North Texas!
A rare sight for North Texas, as Henri Santos rose highest to nod home a corner to give North Texas a 2-1 lead on the road!
After going route one from Carrera to the attacking line, a backheel from Dylan Lacy opened up a chance for Tomas ‘Lionel’ Pondeca, who ripped a beautiful shot from 25 yards out that bent in perfectly. One of the best strikes of the season and Pondeca’s fourth in his last seven matches.
A buzzing three-goal second half gave North Texas a 3-1 win over rivals Dynamo 2. This North Texas’ first victory over Houston, which was well earned by John Gall’s men.
Quotes and Takeaways
John Gall’s halftime team talk worked wonders, as the team truly looked like a different team after the midway mark.
On his halftime team talk, “Well I can’t tell you exactly what I said but it was certainly some home truths.”
“I didn’t think we were ourselves for the first 30 minutes. We were on the back foot.”
“The most enjoyable thing about this group is how well they respond and in all honesty, we could have won this thing by 4 or 5.”
“What I am most proud of is that this is the first come from behind, second-half victory for the club.”
“It is a bittersweet moment because you come down here and win but are already eliminated from the playoffs. We have to come to terms with what happened earlier in the year.”
Tomas Pondeca’s hot streak continues, as he found the net with a beautiful strike yet again. His form under Gall has been superb match-in and match-out coinciding with a switch from winger to midfielder.
A quote from Coach Gall likely applies perfectly to Pondeca’s situation, “if you show people belief, you’ll be amazed by how they respond. I believe in all these guys and they show that.”
mood 🍊 pic.twitter.com/TQWX4Mjuw0— North Texas SC (@northtexasSC) September 18, 2023
North Texas will conclude their season at Choctaw Stadium vs Austin FC II on Sunday, September 24th.