North Texas Soccer Club traveled to face the Chattanooga Red Wolves SC in the quarter-finals of the 2021 USL League One Finals on Saturday night. Through 4 regular-season meetings, North Texas is 0-2-2 against the Red Wolves after giving up multiple late goals.
After two-red cards, extra time, and a back-and-forth affair; North Texas SC was unable to defeat the Red Wolves and lost in extra time, ending their 2021 season.
Eric Quill has wanted his team to start games strongly and it was evident from the attacking style starting lineup.
Unfortunatly, North Texas didn’t have the start that they desired after Devin Benton misdirected the ball into his own goal in the 7th minute.
It didn’t get better for North Texas after Lucas was shown red in the 29th minute.
Mark Salas was the first substitute for North Texas after replacing Nicky Hernandez as Eric Quill opted for four players in his back-line.
Kazu and Allison replaced Devin Benton and Kalil ElMedkhar in the 61st minute in a like-for-like change.
Bernard Kamungo gave North Texas life once again, scoring in 3 consecutive games, tying the game in the 67th minute.
90 minutes could not separate the two teams as they headed into extra time.
Rio Ramirez entered for Gibran Rayo in the 103′ minute.
Rey Ortiz was shown a red card for throwing the ball at Collin Smith in the 108th minute.
Bernard Kamungo made way for Alex Bruce in the 110th minute.
Juan Galindrez restored the lead for the Red Wolves in the 113th minute.
Thibaut Jacquel entered for Collin Smith as the final substitute in the 115th minute.
Thoughts & Takeaways
Winning Key Moments
A soccer game is defined by moments that decide the outcome of the match. These moments become evermore critical in elimination games as was the case for North Texas.
While goals themselves dictate a winner and loser, the play preceding the goals decided North Texas’ fate.
Frustration became evident in the form of mental slips leading to fouls, and the occasional card, in dangerous positions upsetting any momentum that North Texas had built.
North Texas has demonstrated over the course of the regular season that they are capable of responding within games.
Being down a goal and defender within the first half required North Texas to respond but the Red Wolves applied sufficient pressure to subdue North Texas’ advances up the field.
As a result of Chattanooga’s pressure, North Texas grew in confidence and intensity as the second-half wore on. The players also responded positively to the hostile home crowd and fed off the fans’ energy.
Masters of Fate
Again with their own goal, North Texas found themselves in a situation in part of their own doing early in the game. The young team has demonstrated the ability to overcome similar situations but weren’t able to against their opposition this evening.
In spite of the circumstances, North Texas created and controlled the storyline of the game. The Red Wolves did not dictate the game. Rather, North Texas played up to their opposition and weren’t forced to be constantly reactive.
Creating uncomfortable situations resulting in dropped points and unneeded pressure has haunted the team on more than one occasion.
The season has come to a heartbreaking close even with the talent and skill that the 2021 North Texas SC had. What does the future hold for the club? Which players, and possibly coaches, will return for 2022? How will North Texas fare in the new “MLS reserve league”?
Only time will tell but the future is always bright and will contain surprises when it comes to this young development team.