North Texas stays undefeated with SKC II road win

North Texas SC continued to be the only undefeated team in MLS Next Pro as a Malachi Molina brace lifted the team to a 2-0 win in Kansas City.

“Really complete, really mature performance” is how Head Coach John Gall described the output from his men after the match.

The Match

Enes Sali and Pedrinho started on either side of Tarik Scott for the forward line, with Isiah Parker and Malachi Molina flanking them and Turner Humphrey anchoring the back three.

The first chance of the match came by way of the hard work of Tomas Pondeca, but his shot was saved after his steal in midfield.

Soon after Michael Collodi used his legs to snuff out a SKCII chance.

GOAL! North Texas takes the lead, Sali dazzled with a mazy dribble through the heart of the defense, his shot is saved but the rebound finds Molina, who puts it away at the second time of asking. The goal was Molina’s first as a professional.

In the 41st minute, Nolan Norris gets in deep to clear out a dangerous SKCII chance.

As first-half stoppage time rolled around, SKC II broke into the box with a chance to shoot, but a questionable penalty call went against Norris, who earned a yellow in spite of adamant protestations of his innocence. Upon closer look, he may have a case, as it appeared a SKC II player fell into his own player in the box.

As the youths say, “ball don’t lie”, nor did it here, as the penalty attempt from SKC II went wide of the post, and preserved North Texas’ one-goal advantage.

North Texas took a one-goal lead into the half after big performances from Collodi and Molina earned and kept the lead.

Within the first minute of the second half, Collodi stretched to deny an early chance for Kansas City and keep the shutout intact.

A day of heavy fouls continued to build, as North Texas earned its fourth yellow card, as Nico Gordon joined the book just 5 minutes into the second half, alongside teammates Norris, Pondeca, and Scott.

In the 63’, the big man in net came up massive yet again, with another big save to deny SKC II the equalizer.

GOAL!  North Texas double their lead through Molina again! Malik Henry-Scott did well to control a cross into the box and find Pedrinho, who laid a perfect through ball for an on-rushing Malachi Molina to smash it home.

With a two-goal lead, North Texas was able to begin to kill off the game, as the last great NTSC surge forward by Malik Henry-Scott forced the opposing netminder into a diving save.

North Texas closed out the match in commanding fashion and continued their hot streak, with their third regulation in their last four matches.

Quotes and Takeaways

After his impressive tenure as interim head coach, it was clear that John Gall was the man for the job, as someone the players believed in and would fight for. Gall continues to prove himself through the impressive start to the year thus far, with the defense and midfield lines looking solid at keeping opposing chances to a minimal amount.

Coach Gall emphasized the importance of winning the individual battles on the pitch before the game “I told the boys before the game that the best teams have the best individuals, but those best individuals are the best teammates. We were really, really together and performed well individually.”

“We think it is the mentality” That Coach Gall says helps get results even when on the road, “we train really intensely day in and day out, we want to have this mentality that regardless of the venue we want to stamp our authority on the teams we play against”

Gall referenced a good week of training for Malachi Molina, as well as “his mentality and his competitiveness” as factors that led to his superb performance vs SKC II.

On his two-goal performance, Malachi Molina said he was “Very happy, first start of the year, was looking to make something happen and got it done”

North Texas SC will look to continue their unbeaten streak on the road next week in San Jose, facing The Town FC.

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