History was made on a cold night in Frisco as FC Dallas’ USL team, North Texas SC, took on the Chattanooga Red Wolves in a 3-2 win for the first win in franchise history.
The first half started off quickly as North Texas SC came out pressing the Chattanooga backline very intensely. Coach Quill was right is saying that this team really does love to attack. It took Ricardo Pepi only 13 minutes to show North Texas SC and FC Dallas fans why he was the first signing in club history. The team had 10 shots. NTSC was also very fluid in this match and they moved around the field very well.
The second half was the same story to an extent. It was in this half that you could tell that the NTSC guys were getting their first pro minutes. Some players got a little tired and make a few more mistakes. The two goals that Chattanooga scored were a result of small mistakes by the team. Pepi got his second goal in the 62nd minute and Pepi created history in the 82nd minute by getting his first hattrick for himself and North Texas SC. North Texas SC got the job done for Coach Quill in his first game with the club.
Thoughts and Takeaways
Fluidity and Space
One thing that amazed me was how fast this team was playing. Coach Quill said that NTSC is an attacking team but the speed that they played with was amazing. Coach Quill said that he tries to emulate how the first team plays to make the transition to easier for the players by copying FCD’s play style. FC Dallas plays with fluidity under Luchi Gonzalez. North Texas SC was playing with fluidity as well. Lots of fluidity. So much fluidity that I think that it was chaotic, but it was so chaotic that it had a structure (if that makes sense). It was nice seeing how Jatta and Brandon Servania were moving around each other as they helped keep the Chattanooga midfield occupied. The attack did a great job pressing the Chattanooga backline which forced Chattanooga’s midfield to player deeper in their own half. Chattanooga did give them some space and it helped with the positioning.
4 players are in the NTSC half and one of them is Jimmy Mauer. Not bad at all for the first game. All that really needs to be worked on is the mentality and closing things out. Coach Quill stated, “If there’s a takeaway it’s that last 15 minutes. You’re playing against veterans who’ve been there, and they start to go really direct. We allowed service and if you allow multiple service, misplayed balls and misplayed communication. Those are youth mistakes, so we’ll show them, and they’ll learn from it, for sure.”
What is there to say about this guy? Just when you think that FC Dallas might’ve just produced the best player from the Academy, they produce another one. 3 goals. In his first game as a pro. Yes, it is in USL League 1 but it is still against professionals. He held a nice high line and was always there for the ball to be sent up to him. He made great runs and he just wants to have fun. When I asked Pepi about what was going through his mind as he scored his goals, he said, “When I scored my first goal it was very exciting. The second goal just gave me more motivation to go for another one. I mean, I wanted four but got three (laughs).” The mentality of a true sticker.
What happened tonight was amazing and it really is history-making. We now have a second team for all players at FC Dallas. FC Dallas is a development club and with North Texas SC, we get a chance see the up and coming players. It really is exciting to see what the future is. Before, we had no idea at times what was in the pipeline. Now we can see that. We have been clamoring that we need another team for our players to play in, and now we have that. Having Eric Quill at the helm guiding this club is huge. He developed Christian Cappis and Chris Richards. There were lots of first tonight and it really is amazing that we have a second club. Fans should really appreciate the work that Dan and Clark Hunt have done to create this club for the players and the fans. I would love for North Texas SC to win USL League 1 but I would want to make sure that we have players developing.
It was a special night for North Texas SC and FC Dallas fans in general. Dan Hunt spoke with some of us after the press conference and he was saying that he is glad that NTSC is here and that is such a special opportunity for the guys in their career. He also mentioned that there may be some more academy signing coming up. What I want to share is that Dan and Clark Hunt are all in with this club and Dan really showed that tonight. Sure, we may not be like Atlanta and be spending like crazy, but we hear stories about bad owners in soccer. The fact that the Hunts are all-in with FC Dallas and North Texas SC is such a relief.
North Texas SC play their next game at home (Toyota Stadium) on Saturday, April 13 against Forward Madison after the FC Dallas home game against the Portland Timbers. I really recommend everyone to stay and watch that match because North Texas SC is a really special team and gift that we have.
Featured Image: USL League 1