Texas United’s first postseason campaign in USL League Two ended early on Friday night in Des Moines, Iowa.
After overtaking Little Rock Rangers on the final day of the Mid South Division’s regular season, United punched the eighth and final ticket to the Central Conference playoffs and were hosted by first seed Des Moines Menace.
With Flint City Bucks coming through the first quarter-final earlier in the afternoon, beating Chicago FC United 3-1, Arez Ardelani’s team were left with a challenge of beating the number one seed in the Central Conference, to then get a shot at the current holders of the League Two national title on Sunday. Unfortunately, the first test proved too great an ask for the young side.
Texas United struggled to deal with Des Moines’ high pressing front three on both sides of the ball with the Texan defenders struggling to keep up with the Menace attack.
Just eight minutes in Nil Ayats pounced on a parried shot from Alex Horveno to give the hosts an early lead. Only six minutes later a low James Thomas cross found its way through the box for Manel Busquets to tap in at the back post.
Des Moines caught Texas napping five minutes after from a free kick as the ball was played into the feet of Finn McRobb to square to fellow center back Jordan Skelton for a simple finish.
Ayats scored again from the spot in the 29th minute and bagged his hat-trick in the 47th minute as the high press continued to pay dividends. Ayats combined with Thomas to force the ball away from a United defender. A couple of quick passes left Ayats in space on the edge of the area to curl left-footed inside Jeremy Coste’s far post.
All things considered, it was a hugely successful season for Texas United. A new look team earning the team’s first playoff run, the move to UT Dallas coming off a COVID-canceled 2021, as well as assembling academy teams for the forthcoming season in both USL Academy and MLS Next.
DFW sees more playoff action on Saturday with the Denton Diablos in NPSL’s Lone Star Conference Championship at Denton High School.