Coming off a two-game winning streak, North Texas Soccer Club played hosts to the Richmond Kickers. In a must-win game to keep their playoff hopes alive, North Texas SC won 2-1.
North Texas SC now sits in 4th place with with 20 points through 13 games and are 3 points behind 2nd place.
Derek Waldeck and Thomas Roberts returned to starting eleven as they replaced Kevin Bonilla and Collin Smith respectively.
Alex Bruce got the opening goal in the to give North Texas SC the lead in the 23rd minute and his third of the season.
Eddie Munjoma grabbed the second goal just moments before halftime for his first professional goal.
Coach Quill made two substitutions at halftime choosing to bring in Alisson and Collin Smith for Edwin Cerrillo and Thomas Roberts respectively.
Ronaldo Damus replaced Alex Bruce in the 54th minute after missing the previous game.
Richmond was able to get a goal in the 60th minute from a penalty after Justin Che was forced to clear the ball from the box after and the awkward headed ball back by Alisson.
Kevin Bonilla was brought in for Gibran Rayo in the 84th minute as Coach Quill wanted to secure the lead his team had earned.
David Rodriguez was the final substitution of the evening for Derek Waldeck in the 90’+4′ minute.
Thoughts & Takeaways
Eric Quill had his team manage the pace at which his team built the attacking play from the back.
North Texas SC played short, quick, progressive passes through the Kickers’ defensive lines which would allow the North Texas SC attack to run into space behind the Richmond backline.
“Our number one focus is getting guys to play one to two touch,” Coach Quill said about the passing style of his team. “You got to play team soccer. Your individualism will come at the right time if you are will to play team soccer and when you do you get goals like the second one.”
The Kickers preferred to attack with speed and similarly press against North Texas SC.
This slower and more patient style from North Texas SC caused the Kickers to over-commit on their press, which opened space for the North Texas SC players to pass the ball into.
Eddie Munjoma was already making a major impact in his second game with North Texas SC.
While he was tasked as the right full-back, Munjoma did well getting up the field during the attacking phase of play and contribute with the interior players.
He also was all over the field and functioned as an extra player wherever he was found. His constant off-the-ball movement allowed him to have the opportunity to score his first goal.
“That’s just my style,” Munjoma said of his ability to cover the whole field. “Obviously I’m an outside back so defending the back-line is the main objective but any pockets that I see open, I’m going to exploit.”
Thomas Roberts has experience growth during his time with North Texas SC where he has experienced playing multiple positions.
Roberts was also found going from end-line to end-line to not only receive the ball also carry the ball forward and cycle the ball to keep the play fluid.
Roberts continued ability to play multiple positions, contribute the success of the team from any position, and prove to be a difference maker when he is on form will bode well for his chances to break into Luchi Gonzalez’s team.
After winning their last two games, the club has kept their playoff hopes alive after securing a much needed win over a higher ranked opponent.
The inclusion Eddie Munjoma and Nkosi Burgress combined with the good season that Justin Che is having has solidified one of North Texas’ weakest point in their game: the defense.
Thomas Roberts and Edwin Cerrillo have elevated the quality of the game in the midfield for North Texas SC through their work rate and constant off-the-ball movement.
“We are abiding by the philosophy of sharing the ball,” Eric Quill said of his team’s performance. “We are really committing to practice one-touch. The people in the locker room, all the players are absolutely bought in and they are starting to believe. You can see it in the game and in their body language. These guys just inject life into you. The chemistry is right in our locker along with the talent on the field.”
While there may not be the overwhelming inclusion of FC Dallas players, it’s evident that even a few players in critical positions has raised the level at which North Texas SC plays at.
North Texas SC will travel to play against New England Revolution II on Friday, October 16th at 6:00 PM