North Texas SC began their season a couple of weeks ago, in an attempt to win the league like they did last year.
Although the start of the season has been less than impressive, there have been a couple of players that have stood out in the first five matches of the season. And they all are academy players.

Benjamin Redzic

This one is easy, but there are multiple reasons why Redzic is on this list, apart from the fact that he is the current goalscoring leader on the roster. 

One of the reasons why Arturo Rodriguez was so good last year was because of his ability to manipulate defenses into creating enough space for him to do as he pleased. Rodriguez’s skill on the ball allowed him to create channels behind defensive lines, spaces he would exploit with a burst of speed or a pass. That’s why he played on the left side and not in the center: with Thomas Roberts manipulating defenses in the middle of the field and Rodriguez doing it on the left, that ended up causing a ton of havoc for defenses around the league.

Redzic is not a direct replacement for Rodriguez. For one, his decision making needs a lot of work. There have been moments in matches where he took one too many dribbles, which would ruin the attack for Nort Texas.

Furthermore, his passing is not quite as good as Rodriguez’s. But the dribbling and the spacial awareness is there, as well as the finishing touch.

His height also gives him an advantage in the air, which is quite rare for wingers in the FC Dallas system.

We all should hope that the injury he received last night isn’t severe, because he is currently the only consistent attacking threat we’ve had at the start of this season.

Justin Che

Let’s just address the elephant in the room and recognize that the defense for this team has been abysmal so far. 10 goals conceded is the worst defensive record in USL League One. All players on the defensive side of the ball are to blame: Allison has had a relatively poor start, both goalkeepers have given up the ball way too many times, Waldeck is not the answer at left-back, and Evans and Batista are incapable of working alongside each other. The only player who has played well consistently is Justin Che.

He’s played most of his minutes at right-back, primarily because it doesn’t seem like Alves can perform well at this level at right back. in this position, he’s performed pretty well. His height gives him an advantage over most of the wingers he’s faced, he covers ground pretty quickly, and he has been putting in some decent crosses (one even led to an assist). But it’s clear that his best position is at center back. 

We might not see him play there for some time. The team has had a ton of injuries, and FC Dallas will probably not send down any other players. But his minutes at center back led to the best defensive performances we’ve seen by this team.

Collin Smith

Alex Bruce has not impressed so far this season. In the first couple of matches he was unable to get on the scoresheet and even struggled to get any shots on target. The attack became more coherent and potent when Collin Smith entered the playing field.

To be blunt, Smith is the best crosser on the team right now. Although his crosses aren’t the most accurate, they are always dangerous, and always cause trouble for the opposing side. There have been multiple instances where Smith would cross the ball and create a chance out of nothing. One example is the headed goal by Redzic that was shown earlier in the article. 

This, coupled with his speed, makes Smith a very dangerous tool in an already very quick and skillful attack. If he improves his finishing and his positioning, he could become a surefire starter for the club every match.

Unfortunately, this is a shortlist. North Texas must improve in the coming games if they want to hold on to their title.

What do you think of this list? What other players would you add to the list?
What needs to improve so that North Texas SC can return to winning form?

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