North Texas Soccer Club took on Toronto FC II in their second to last home game of the season. After playing the only team that North Texas SC has not beaten in the USL League One, North Texas SC was able to beat Toronto FC II with the score of 2-0.
The first half of the game featured North Texas SC taking over the rhythm of the game. Much of the attack went down North Texas SC’s right flank that featured Richard Danso showing much of his skill on the ball. Toronto FC II got close to scoring a couple of times themselves, but Jimmy Maurer did well to frustrate all shots sent his way. The intensity from North Texas SC wasn’t the same as it was Tuesday evening against South Georgia Tormenta FC though the home side looked to change that in the second half.
North Texas SC continued to look for the goal that can give them the points needed. That goal would not come until the 73rd minute off a penalty from Arturo Rodriguez.
73' GOOOAAALL!! ?@aartur98 converts his penalty to score his 5th goal of the season!
— North Texas SC (@northtexasSC) September 2, 2019
Gibran Rayo received the ball from Bryan Reynolds to lay the ball off back to Reynolds into space who made a run down the left side of the field and played a cross to Ronaldo Damus to who scored the second goal of the evening.
83' GOOOAAALLL!!! ??
Ronaldo Damus scores his @USLLeagueOne leading 11th goal of the season!
— North Texas SC (@northtexasSC) September 2, 2019
The match went on the finish 2-0 which helps North Texas SC’s playoffs ambitions.
Thoughts & Takeaways
North Texas SC appears to have turned a corner after downing Tormenta FC and getting a result against Toronto FC II. There were less first-team players from the last game (5 players appearing in this game), the style changed marginally as the North Texas players had to find their own style. Playing quick passes, which highlighted much of the success this team had at the beginning of the season, was what North Texas SC did to keep Toronto FC II moving around the which allowed Richard Danso and Arturo Rodriguez to find space to work their magic. The first half featured much of the attacking play being directed through Richard Danso who was having quite the game and it is excellent to see the skill that is demonstrated in practice carry into gameday.
“I thought, again, getting back to how we defended and pressed, I was proud of the conviction even into the 93rd minute,” Head Coach Eric Quill told Dallas Sports Nation. “There wasn’t many times in which we sat off of on them, we were always looking to push them backward and really commit to turning over quickly and I think that becomes deflating when you’re successful doing it sometimes. I was really happy with our defending and the clean sheet.”
A lot of the finer details are coming back together with this team and that is what matters the most. The team is finding their rhythm and style again which is important for a team that is not only fighting for a playoffs spot but developing these young players.
“Look, when you have five, six first-team guys in there, it helps you,” Eric Quill said about having FC Dallas players in his team. “I mean, their mentalities and abilities and there are going to be moments again when we’re going to have none of them or maybe one of them and we really have to have our young guys step up in those moments. That’s what this is all about, making sure those guys are growing along the way and getting minutes to grow themselves.”
It is hard to balance the desire to win while emphasizing the importance of learning for the young players as the players themselves are hungry for results, it can be easy to play the more veteran players. The coaching has been remarkable from Eric Quill and his staff to put together a competitive team while nurturing the players.
As everything is coming together again for North Texas SC, the playoffs are on the mind of everyone at the club. Club officials, players, coaches, and fans all want the team to do well and make the playoffs in their inaugural season
“I think everybody is starting to believe,” Coach Quill said about the mood in the locker room. “There’s five games left now and we know the importance of home-field advantage in playoffs, we are making them well aware of that, but this is where everybody makes their final push to get in. So you’re gonna get everybody’s good shot. We’ve gotta be up for it. We can’t sit here and rest on the fact that we’re in first place by a few points. It’s about us, we got to make it about us, and not make it about anything else besides the ultimate goal. The locker room right now [after the] last two games, they’re excited and bought in. The faces change week to week but the crest is the same.”
Making the playoffs in the inaugural season for a professional development team like North Texas SC speaks volumes of the quality and success that the club has been when talking about performance in the season. The season is a 28 game long adventure that tests the mental and physical fortitude of these young players throughout the season. The younger players in North Texas may have not been accustomed to the more demanding nature that playing at a professional level requires but they have been pushed and challenged all season long.
“That’s one of the things that Eric [Quill] was saying after the game, ‘It’s not necessarily the team that ends on the top of the table but the team that’s climbing at the end of the season and continues to climb through the playoffs is usually the team that wins it,” captain and defender Brecc Evans shared. “One game at a time and our goal is to finish first so we have home-field advantage in the playoffs.”
North Texas SC has 5 games left in the League One season and one more home game on Tuesday, September 10th against the Richmond Kickers and ends their season on a 3-game road trip that features a rematch against Forward Madison FC in El Plastico.
North Texas SC sits in 1st place with 44 points through 23 games having a game in hand and a 5-point lead over 2nd place Lansing Ignite FC.
Featured Image: North Texas SC