North Texas SC took on Forward Madison in a 3-1 win to remain undefeated in the league. This came had a different tempo about it as North Texas SC looked a little slower, but they got the job done.
North Texas SC came out with serious hunger for goals. Ronaldo Damus, in the third minute, opened the scoring off of a flick from Pepi down the right side of the field. Four minutes later Arturo Rodriguez assisted his brother, David, to give NTSC the 2-0 lead. There should have been a red card for Forward Madison FC goalkeeper, Sylvestre, as he handled the ball about 10 yards outside of the box but was only awarded a yellow. The rest of the first half had a slower tempo about it than what is normal for NTSC when they are on their game. Though, this team has gone through tempo fluctuations throughout the season before.
North Texas SC came out in the second half with more energy than the first. They were more fluid and held shape rather well. Almaguer went on to get seal the winner for NTSC as he ripped a shot from the top of the box to the bottom left corner of the goal. NTSC went on to continue to hold Forward Madison off the scoreboard for the rest of the game.
Thoughts and Takeaways
North Texas SC started off the game very strong with intensity and it was evident with the 2 early goals. It did look like that Forward Madison FC was trying to find their rhythm in the match. For the remainder of the first half, it looked like that NTSC didn’t play with the same speed that fans are accustomed. When asked about the speed of play Eric Quill said, “You never know. Is it a short week? Saturday [and a] Wednesday game? Is it the travel? Is it a mindset? There are a lot of variables that can affect that including Forward Madison”.
I think Coach Quill hit it head on and with the travel and playing 2 games in 5 days on these young professionals it does take a toll. Given that FC Dallas is a little short-handed at the current moment with injuries and international call-ups, that impact is also felt with North Texas SC. NTSC is also missing a player of their own, captain Brecc Evans. It is a good learning moment for these young guys and for Coach Quill and his staff.
Building off of the slower than usual tempo, there also appeared to be a lack of connecting balls from the defense and holding midfielders up to the attack. The game also was played with more width than normal verticality that is associated with North Texas SC. Here is the passing chart for Tanner Tessman and Bicou Bissainthe.
Here is the passing chart for Arturo and David Rodriguez
With the Tessman and Bissainthe passing, there is plenty of passing along the width of the pitch but not much up to the attack. Tessman dropped deeper towards the defense more than usual this game as he helped cycle the ball around the passing chart shows it.
The Rodriguez brothers served as a creative force in this team though there weren’t that many passes made that really unlocked Madison’s defense. It is also important to note that Madison tended to sit in low bock and really committed numbers to clog the midfield.
There is plenty of defensive action from Madison the NTSC attacking third which also limited the frequency and number of successful passes into this area of the pitch.
David Rodriguez, when asked about playing with his brother, explained, “We understand each other, and we help out each other.” On the unity of the team, he said (in Spanish), “Is very good. I believe we work hard every day and we do it in the games.”
North Texas SC has played 7 games out of 28 game season and sit in first place with a 6-1-0 record at 19 points. The goal of this team is to serve as a development team for the young, FC Dallas first-team potentials. With that being said the progress and results that these young professionals have gotten is hard to ignore. NTSC has not always played the most complete soccer in some games, but they know how to grind out results and play as a team. There work ethic and desire to win and play as a unit is what makes this group such an exciting group to watch. It helps that the majority of these players have also played with each other.
Imanol Almaguer said, “In reality, both locker rooms (the U-19’s and North Texas) are great. You notice the guys you know; you have been with them forever.”
North Texas SC now heads on a four-game road trip as they look to remain undefeated in the league.
Featured Image: North Texas SC