North Texas SC played their 3rd preseason match against Sporting Kansas City II, the Sporting KC reserve side that plays in the USL Championship.
They came away with a 1-0 victory, their second victory against a USL Championship opponent.
Here’s today’s lineup to face @SportingKCII:
Alisson dos Santos Correa
Juan Manuel Alvarez
⏱ Kickoff at 2PM! #RunItBack
— North Texas SC (@northtexasSC) February 27, 2020
The game consisted of long stretches of pressure and possession from both teams. North Texas SC tried to play through SKC II’s constant press but were rusty, and the couple turnovers that occurred throughout the match were the majority of SKC II’s chances. However, for the most part, North Texas was bale to pass through SKC II’s press, creating all sorts of havoc when the front 3 were making runs through the channels.
In the first half, which consisted of most of the starting eleven for both teams, North Texas controlled most of the match. The first and only goal in the regular game came from a Dante Sealy penalty kick. After receiving a long ball from one of the midfielders near the corner flag, Sealy was able to beat the defender and drive the ball into the penalty area but was dragged in the process. He took the ensuing penalty kick and finished the opportunity with ease. The rest of the half included multiple golden opportunities for each team, but the half ended 1-0.
In the second half, most of the game leaned in favor of SKC II, especially after many of the substitutions were made. However, after multiple changes that resulted in a couple of clutch defensive plays from some of the North Texas players, SKC II was still unable to get onto the scoresheet. The 90-minute match concluded with a 1-0 victory for NTSC.
A 30 minute extra half was played by both teams to give the trialists of both teams more opportunities to play. SKC II was able to score a goal off of a penalty kick in the 120th minute.
Dereck Waldeck and Juan Alvarez were the standout players for NTSC in the first 60 minutes of the match. Although obviously out of his comfort zone, Waldeck was able to shut down the attack from SKC II coming from the left. He also seems to be the most vocal player on the field with the exception of Carlos Avilez, an amazing trait given that he spent most of the preseason with FC Dallas. Early guess for North Texas captain is Waldeck.
Alvarez showed why he was brought to the Florida camp with the first team. His size and skill were a deterrent for SKC II for the entirety of the match. His passing ability is higher than most of the squad, as he was able to play through the channels of the opposing team
Dante Sealy was able to score a penalty kick, but for most of the match, he was slightly streaky. There were moments throughout the scrimmage were he would show that his talent exceeded most on the pitch, and there were moments were he was a non-factor.
I can see why many are high on Andres Engebretson. His fight and grit were factors of his play that began to irritate the defenders. He seems like the fighter of the team, as he was always trying to win those 50-50’s
Alex Bruce clearly struggled to find his rhythm throughout the match. He was unable to get on the ball much and was unable to get a shot on goal. The play was secluded mostly to the wings, so he was unable to get more than a dozen touches in the first half
It was interesting to see Oscar Romero in the midfield. He was quick and was always an option for the other players on the field, but he struggled with creating much offensive output. With an increase in quality from last year, it will be interesting to see his role in the squad.
Carlos Avilez, as I stated earlier, was the most vocal player on the field. his continual communication was a constant reminder for every player of their duties, something that no one really did a year ago. The leadership that he showed us a new trait from him, and it will help him stand out from the other players.
Thomas Roberts is in an unlucky situation in Dallas, where there are multiple players that are vying for this position, and it seems that he won’t be a starter for the foreseeable future. He played today for North Texas, which assumes that he won’t be in the 18 for FC Dallas this weekend. He performed pretty well, but the reality is that he is too talented to perform at this level, and another season in USL League One could garner some impatience from the homegrown.
This was the second time that I’ve seen Eddie Munjoma play, as the first time was in that friendly against Austin. His performance today was much better than the one for FC Dallas. His speed and athleticism are apparent, and he has a good set of defensive attributes that make him a notch higher than other players on the squad. Improvement of his skills and the learning of the system should allow Munjoma to improve to the next step.
Nkosi Burgess was consistently performing very well. He was able to put out multiple fires and is clearly at the level if not higher to the USL Championship opponents.
However, his counterpart, Allison, was not able to perform to the same standard. Although an injury early in the half might have worsened his ability, prior to his fall, he was unable to connect into the system as well as everyone else in the backline. Allison’s physical characteristics are reason enough to groom him into the perfect player, but he most definitely a project.
A couple of the subs also made an impression on me. The first one on the field and the best substitute was Mauricio Fazio, the trialist from Innocentes and the player that subbed in for Allison prior to the second half. Fazio was a much more calming presence on the field than Allison and was able to connect with Burgess a lot more. He seems to be having an extremely good preseason.
I can see why the club signed Cuadrado. The guy is definitely raw, but there sparks throughout the time he was on the field.
Luis Zamudio made a couple big saves throughout the second half and the extra half at the end of the game. The goalkeeping position is going to be an interesting one.
David Rodriguez was and has always been a talent, and it will be amazing to see his growth as the inarguable starter for the squad this year.
Thierry Assamoi was one of the players that I haven’t heard of that caught my eye. Another Richland grad (the club seems to be scouting heavily from the school), the right-back was big, fast, and strong, and made a couple of good passes.
The club will play its next preseason match against SMU on the 7th of March
Featured Image: SportingKC.com