North Texas’ undefeated streak ends in 2-0 Loss in Portland

“We did a serious game but sometimes they are lucky,” said a bereft Head Coach Javier Cano after the match as a 6-game unbeaten streak ends as North Texas conceded two goals off the inside of the post.

North Texas never looked a step behind their opponents, but they could not get enough going in front of the goal to challenge Portland for the lead.

The Match

After strong showings the prior week, Tomas Pondeca and Anthony Ramirez earned starts again, with 17-year-old Nayrobi Vargas as the line striker between them. Antonio Carrera returned from the U20 World Cup to regain his spot in the starting XI. Tyshawn Rose returned from red card suspension, pushing captain Andre Costa back into his typical midfield role.

North Texas started well on the front foot, with Vargas connecting with a header after 5′, but his attempt was well saved.

After 18′, Timbers2 got a good cross in that found former NTSC player Blake Pope at the back post, whose shot snuck past Carrera and onto the inside of the post, and fell gracefully for Timbers2 to gain the lead.

Carrera did well and denied a Timber2 chance at the half-hour mark, as he stretched and saved an outside-the-box blast.

North Texas thought they were back in the match with a 36′ strike from Vargas but the offside flag denied the young Honduran.

Down a goal at the half, North Texas’ unbeaten streak was hung on perilously, with 45 minutes left to decide their fate.

Timbers2 came out on the front foot in the second half, with Carrera forced into a save just minutes from the resumption.

With nearly 15′ played in the second half, Timbers2 earned a questionable free kick outside the box. Timbers 2’s Josh Penn curled it off the near post and in to double the home sides advantage.

After being substituted at the hour mark, Pablo Torre nearly made an immediate impact, but the Timbers2 keeper was quick off his line to deny him.

With 20 minutes left in the half, Carrera’s post turned from foe to friend, as it denied the home side taking a 3-goal lead in the match.

Henri Santos came close to getting one back for North Texas but skied his chance, the last of the match for the away side, who were defeated on the night.

Quotes and Takeaways

Margins between teams can be paper thin in some games, with small things making the difference. There were lots of moments where the game could have been turned around but the team failed to capitalize.

Antonio Carrera put it well, saying “Sometimes football doesn’t go your way. Maybe if we are a bit more clinical on both sides of the box it goes our way.”

Despite the goals, Carrera stood tall on his return to MLS Next Pro action, and reaffirmed his goals for his future, “My goal is to go to Europe and be a top keeper there. And [the U20 World Cup] gave me confirmation that I am good enough to make this dream come true and be there.”

Coach Cano was frustrated after the match but accepting of the defeat, “Every time we play on the road it is not easy, and we know it. We need to have the experience.”

“Maybe we need to be more conservative in the press and maybe we need to close space between defenders. We try to do everything to win.”

Vargas looked a constant threat throughout the match and is settling into the league well.

North Texas looks to begin another undefeated run Friday, June 16th vs San Jose Earthquakes II at Choctaw Stadium.

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