North Texas Soccer Club returned home as they took on the Chattanooga Red Wolves in their third game of the season. A single goal was enough for the Red Wolves to take all three points against a shutout North Texas SC.
Juan Parra made his North Texas SC debut along with Kalil ElMedkhar. Beni Redzic has made his return to North Texas SC after recently signing his homegrown deal with FC Dallas.
Jimmie Villalobos opened the scoring for Chattanooga after a receiving a short pass from Jaun Galindrez in the box.
Collin Smith, Bernard Kamungo, and Caiser Gomes came in for Hope Avayevu, Beni Redzuc, and Juan Parra respectively in the 62nd minute.
Alex Bruce and Alejandro Viniegra entered for Mikey Maldonado and Kalil ElMedkhar in the 79th minute.
The lone goal was enough to down North Texas SC 0-1.
Thoughts & Takeaways
Since the first game, Eric Quill has deviated (a bit) from the typical FC Dallas 4-3-3. The formation that North Texas SC has opted for in their first three games most resembles the 4-4-2. Though, like FC Dallas, the shape of the team emphasizes flexibility.
North Texas SC opts for two strikers that play off each other with one positioned higher (typically Thibaut Jacquel) than the other. The two midfielders consist of one more defensive orientated (Mickey Maldonado) and the other.
“Defensively we try to defend with the 4-4-2 and convert to the 4-3-3 going forward,” Nicky Hernandez told 3rd Degree. “We’re still trying to find those connections with the new guys and I’m part of the new guys. We’re trying to build that chemistry to build the fluidity in the midfield. I think going forward we are starting to find it.”
Defensively, the front and middle lines flatten to limit any forward passes by the opposition. During the buildup and attack, the central players form a staggered triangle (back to front: Maldonado, Hernandez, Avayevu) that can hold the ball and/or guide the direction of the attack in the final third.
North Texas SC moves quickly as a team and prefers to move the ball in a similar fashion. Chattanooga similarly played a high-intensity game that featured moving the ball quickly.
Within the first three games, the players are understanding when players are going to make a run, where they will be positioned, and learning the nuances of each player. The next step is to bring the team together up to game speed.
“We take pride going forward and creating chances quickly,” Eric Quill said of his team. “We now have our full squad which will help. We are trying to figure out what each guy’s profile is and what each guy is capable of.”
While progress is being made in regard to playing cohesively as a team, the match had a start-stop nature that didn’t favor either side. A ball going out of play, foul, a missed pass, and the Chattanooga press all hampered North Texas SC’s ability to play a high-intensity game.
“It’s kinda difficult when you find that momentum and it gets shut down by the stop [in the play],” Nicky Hernandez said of the start-stop nature of the game. “Props to Chattanooga to managing it well to their advantage. We just couldn’t find the momentum and the snowball effect to keep going.”
North Texas SC will play host against South Georgia Tormenta FC on Sunday, May 16th at 6:00 PM.