North Texas Soccer Club faced New England Revolution II for their only trip up to Foxborough, Massachusetts. It was a clash between two teams lower in the bottom third of the league table.
In a slow first half, it only took New England Revolution II seven minutes to secure the three points, three goals, and a shutout that jumped them up in the standings while North Texas SC appear to have regressed as a team.
Rio Ramirez, defender and defensive midfielder, got his first start with North Texas SC after previously playing with the Fort Worth Vaqueros (NPSL) and Mesquite Outlaws (MASL).
Justin Rennicks got New England on the board from a tap-in ball played to him from the right side of the field in the 58th minute.
Ryan Spaulding doubled the lead three minutes later with a curled shot inside of the box in the 61st minute.
Four minutes later Damian Rivera made it three off a penalty kick in the 65th minute.
It was a double substitution from Eric Quill as Hope Avayevu and Collin Smith replaced Kazu and Bernard Kamungo respectively om the 66th minute.
Blaine Ferri replaced Nicky Hernandez in the 76th minute.
Rickson Van Hees made his second appearance with North Texas SC as he replaced Alex Bruce in the 83rd minute.
New England Revolution secured the three-points, three goals, and a shutout against North Texas SC.
Thoughts & Takeaways
FC Dallas has undergone a variety of formation changes in 2021 with varied success. North Texas SC has displayed similar formation changes but on a subtler note than their MLS counterparts.
Eric Quill has employed some variation of a 4-3-3 that has molded into a 4-4-2, 4-1-4-1, and 4-2-3-1 with the emphasis being on the roles and shape that the midfield trio.
The midfield trio consists of a “6”, “8” and/or “10” depending on the game play, opposition, and players available.
Having struggled defensively as a team, North Texas employed two 6’s (Derek Waldeck and Rio Ramirez) to provide stability, centrally, to force New England’s attack out to the flanks. This also created two anchor points that North Texas could cycle the ball through rather than going to the back-line.
The style of play for North Texas has been dictated by the players that make up the midfield and for this game, North Texas prioritized defensive stability against a patient and thoughtful attacking team.
The speed of play was slower than typical for North Texas SC due to New England’s slower attacking style.
This played well in the defensive setup for North Texas given the added time that the club had to set up their defensive shape. New England’s probing passes into the midfield had little success due to North Texas forcing New England to play wide.
Towards the end of the first and half and into the second half, North Texas made attempts to increase the tempo of the game by playing the ball over the top to the attacking line.
This forced New England to transition quicker, which opened up the game for both sides but played to New England’s advantage as they were to complete the transition quicker than their opponent.
In spite of the early defensive success, New England’s patient and accurate passing broke through North Texas’ defensive and game-plan gaps.
Just as the North Texas attack had found cohesion between players, the last two games have indicated otherwise. Missed passes, extra touches, and miscommunications plagued North Texas SC in the attacking third and the frustration was visible amongst the players.
The backward regression is not what the team was hoping for especially having gone into the international break with the attack being the best aspect of the North Texas game plan.
With a squad full of players with promising individual potential, the club will want to regain some of the cohesion that was developed and build upon the early successes both from this game and early in the season.
North Texas SC drop to 10th place with 11 points through 9 games. North Texas SC heads back on the road to Richmond, Virginia to face the Richmond Kickers on Saturday, July 3rd, at 5:30 PM.