North Texas SC play their final match of the season vs FC Tuscon tomorrow night at 9:30pm. The reserve team will enter the USL League One Playoffs in 1st place in their inaugural season, a feat exemplified by the youth and inexperience that this side fields week in and week out.
Although it was expected by many who recognize the talent that the FC Dallas youth program creates, North Texas SC’s playoff qualification is an impressive feat. Even though some major hurdles, such as the signing of Ricardo Pepi to an MLS homegrown contract, and the injuries that riddled the backline throughout the season, the kids have been able to qualify for the playoffs with time to spare.
For any FC Dallas fans who haven’t followed NTSC during the season, there are a couple players to keep an eye on…
Many of the homegrowns that don’t enter FC Dallas’ 18 every week have performed consistently very well during the USL League One Season.
With the midfield of Bryan Acosta, Jesus Ferreira, Brandon Servania, and Paxton Pomykal, Cerrillo has struggled to find consistent minutes in MLS, playing 90 minutes in the last two months. Since the beginning of summer, however, Cerrillo has regularly featured for Eric Quill’s side, playing 5 games for NTSC.
His playstyle is exactly what it was at the beginning of the MLS season when FC Dallas fans were able to see him play multiple games due to injuries throughout the squad and good form. He possesses the ball well, rarely losing the ball to the opposing team. He sits deep and covers a good portion of the field. With his passing, he is able to push the ball consistently into the attack, helping with the transition.
It’s unclear whether or not Cerrillo will feature much for North Texas, as depth may be needed if FC Dallas enters the MLS playoffs. But if he plays, he will be one of the best on the pitch during the USL League One playoffs
Reynolds injured himself this week while playing for North Texas SC, so it is unclear if he will be available for the first game of the playoffs.
It’s unfortunate because he has been a constant for North Texas backline throughout the season. In 10 matches, he has scored a goal and notched two assists for the reserve side.
Reynolds has also shown many signs of growth as he has played throughout the season in both teams. His defensive capabilities have improved immensely, and his crossing has gotten better as well. He has the 2nd highest crossing accuracy percentage in North Texas SC from players that have played more than 90 minutes. He is definitely one of the players on this roster that will play an important role in the next coming years.
North Texas Stars
There is no one more ready for MLS minutes on the NTSC roster more than Arturo Rodriguez. For my money, he is the MVP for the 2019 USL League One Season.
He is the current league leader in assists, with 9, and the current league leader in chances created, with 71. Within the team, he is 1st in total passes (1,326), 1st in key passes (71), and 2nd in shots on target (22). He also scores goals like this
This is Beckham-esque, with no sense of exaggeration. He can truly become a great player in MLS if given the chance. If he stays in form, his performance in the playoffs will be one to admire.
With the departure of Ricardo Pepi to FC Dallas, there was a genuine worry if Damus was going to be able to match Pepi’s goal-scoring prowess. He hasn’t disappointed and is set to win the golden boot with 16 goals, barring an amazing performance by Jordan Perruzza of Toronto FC II.
Damus has been able to consistently put the ball in the back of the net. He has also shown his versatility, as he started the season on the wing when Ricardo Pepi still consistently played for the club.
It’s a little more difficult to tell if Damus will be able to perform this well in the MLS, as USL League One defenders and goalkeepers haven’t exactly had performances to write home about. But his performances have created enough of a reason for him to get the opportunity with the first team next season.
Until then though, he will hopefully continue to shred defenses as we enter into the USL League One playoffs
Midway through the season, Jatta was the surprise of the season. The Gambian, who is currently loaned in from the Czech 3rd division side MFK Vyskov, impressed many with his overall ability. His passing, defending, and strength were all aspects of his game, qualities that most 20-year-olds do not have.
Since then, he has shown another side to his game. Due to injuries and rotation, he has had to play a lot of Center Back, and he showed aptitude in that position.
His size and raw physical ability are aspects that can be built on to create a perfect player, and many fans have seen that with molding, Jatta can become that player. In the USL League One playoffs, he will be competing for minutes with Edwin Cerrillo, which will also be interesting to see for fans.
The USL League One playoffs will begin on October 12th at 7pm. I encourage all FC Dallas fans to come out to the game and support the young players who have played really well during this season.
Featured Image: Dallas Morning News