North Texas SC embarks on their first road trip of the season to a face a brand new opponent in Union Omaha.
- Date: August 1st, 2020
- Time: 7 PM CST
- Location: Werner Park, Papillion, Nebraska
- How to Watch: ESPN+
This will be the first ever match up between North Texas SC and Union Omaha as Union Omaha play their second game ever and host their first ever USL League One game.
The defending champions will certainly provide a challenging first test in their home stadium but Omaha will be looking to pull off the upset and bring home a victory in their first game in front of a home crowd. Both teams are coming off of positive results in their first games with North Texas SC having defeated El Plastico rivals Forward Madison FC 2-1 with goals from academy player Beni Redzic and 2019 USL League One leading scorer Ronaldo Damus.
Meanwhile, Union Omaha traveled to Foxborough and played out a scoreless draw against another MLS reserve team and new USL League One team in 2020, New England Revolution II. That means that in addition to playing their first home match, Omaha will also be chasing their first ever win along with their first ever goal. A lot of potential firsts waiting for Omaha and NTSC will hope to make them wait at least another week on all of them.
North Texas SC
Very much an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” lineup prediction for this week. With it being still so early in the season, predicting the lineup for a team that changed so much is a major challenge but following a quality performance last week, I expect an unchanged, or largely unchanged, lineup for game number two. Academy players Grady Easton, Justin Che and Beni Redzic maintain their spots in the lineup, though their travel is seemingly always up in the air, so don’t be surprised if one or more of these players is not even in the 18 man squad.
Justin Che could easily slide over into the right-center back spot to allow for Pedrinho to make his debut at right-back as well. The other big uncertainty is who tested positive for COVID from North Texas SC.
It was reported earlier this week that NTSC had at least one positive test, that would obviously have a potential impact on the starting lineup as well.
3 players who tested +ve were involved in that match.
Richmond plays tonight against Tormenta.
Also, +ve tests from North Texas. #LeagueOne
— Nipun Chopra, PhD (@NipunChopra7) July 28, 2020
Another unchanged lineup prediction with Omaha entering their second match in club history, there isn’t a lot of historical information to go on here. This 3 man back line will likely see a lot of time as a 5 man back line with wing backs Damia Viader and Sebastian Contreras dropping back to deal with the pacy and tricky wingers of NTSC. The Omaha lineup is interesting, largely stocked with players with experience in the USL Championship and USL League One with a good mix of international players in the mix as well. In many ways, Omaha will still be searching for their identity as a club and as a group in their first year so there are plenty of unknowns regarding this team and we may see a vastly different lineup this week.
Three Keys to the Match
1) Get Through the Opening 15 Minutes
Union Omaha are coming off their first ever game, a disappointing 0-0 draw against another team playing their first-ever match in USL League One. In their first game at home in front of their home fans, they are certainly going to want to get off to a hot start. On their first road trip, with a roster that is still largely unaccustomed to playing competitive matches with one another, North Texas SC will need to start the game locked in and likely survive a decent bit of pressure in the opening minutes as Omaha look to start things off at home with a bang.
2) Avoid Any Mistakes in the Back
This is less about avoiding defensive mistakes and more about avoiding mistakes while building out of the back. As we’ve seen in the match against Madison and all throughout the 2019 season, North Texas SC is uncompromising in an insistence on playing out of the back. This is always a risky move and is even riskier playing away from home and, in this case, that is further compounded by playing in a stadium and on a surface that is surely unfamiliar to the entirety of the NTSC roster.
The backline will need to ensure they are on top of their passing game to avoid any costly turnovers at the back that could lead to easy goal scoring chances for Omaha.
3) Take Your Chances
Based on what we saw in Omaha’s first game, they are likely to sit relatively deep and attempt to absorb pressure and break on the counter, making it as difficult as possible for NTSC to play through them to create chances.
With the talent at NTSC’s disposal, those chances will certainly come, but being clinical and taking those chances, much like Ronaldo Damus did to score NTSC’s second against Madison, will be absolutely key in coming away with the three points in Omaha.
Will North Texas SC come away with 3 points in their first-ever trip to Nebraska?
Featured Image: North Texas SC