North Texas SC slipped to third in the Western Conference of MLS Next Pro after dropping a second straight result and San Jose avenged a 1-0 loss in the Bay Area.
Pa-Modou Kah made six changes from the 4-2 loss to SKC II.
Antonio Carrera returned from US U-20 duty to start in goal.
FCD U17 Nolan Norris made his fourth start for North Texas SC as Isaiah Parker pushes forward to left wing. Chase Niece returned to the start after almost two months for the other change in the back line.
Captain Derek Waldeck dropped to the bench with Andre Costa coming into an otherwise unchanged midfield.
The front three saw a complete change. In addition to Parker’s offensive move, Collin Smith came in on the opposite flank with Pablo Torre leading the line for NTX.
Isaiah Parker’s first professional goal gave North Texas the lead in the 18th minute, getting on the end of a cross from Collin Smith.
Quakes II pulled level in the 35th minute through Eduardo Blanca. The midfielder smashed the ball from the back post after Paul Amedume allowed a cross from the right.
With the momentum already in San Jose’s favor, Hope Avayevu put in a firm challenge after the whistle blew in stoppage time to earn a second yellow card.
Coach Pa went to the bench at the break with Blaine Ferri, Bernie Kamungo, and Jose Mulato all entering the game for Chase Niece, Santi Ferreira, and Pablo Torre. The move pushed Isaiah Parker back to left back and Nolan Norris inside to center back.
Blancas grabbed his second goal shortly after the break, after great work by Jerry Ayon, getting around a defender before cutting back from the byline for the close-range finish.
Under pressure, and really – thankfully to the heroics of Nolan Norris and Antonio Carrera – still in the game, Coach Kah cycled Collin Smith back into the defense in the 74th minute with Brock Pope coming out of the game and FCD U17 Ale Urzua coming in at central midfield.
The Quakes development side had two strong penalty appeals waved away, but the third was cut and dry as Will Richmond won and converted a spot-kick in the 81st minute.
Another FCD U17, Dylan Lacy, made his first appearance for North Texas as the final change in the 87th minute, for Nolan Norris. The change saw Urzua drop into the center of defense.
Thoughts and Takeaways
First and foremost, this was a win for development. Players like Nolan Norris starting and Dylan Lacy making the jump to adult soccer will give greater benefit to the FC Dallas organization in the long term than a win, and it gives Coach Pa the benefit of resting players like Derek Waldeck who are going to be leant on as the season goes.
If you keep up with Buzz’s academy hot lists and protect the investment pieces, we’ve seen two of the listed players pick up minutes in different positions. Norris started at left back before moving inside, and Ale Urzua came in at his typical 8 spot before finishing out the game in the center of defense.
Something recent club addition Dylan Lacy said about his first minutes with NTX stuck with me. The players and coaches took him in as family.
The club atmosphere is incredibly important, particularly when it’s not a top-flight team with all the perks that the highest level of pro soccer can afford in things like cross-country travel, and also when the players available can drastically change week-to-week.
The players and staff all show great reverence to Kah, and that feeling is apparent throughout the locker room with no divide between pros and academy, or FCD products vs internationals. That’s vital in lineup rotations between available players and chances to develop young talent like North Texas is currently having to juggle.
After FC Dallas settled the season series against the Houston Dynamo on Saturday, North Texas looks to avenge a 3-2 loss to Dynamo Dos from April’s double-header. They play at Choctaw Stadium on Friday, July 11 at 8 pm.