At 4:30 p.m. on April 23, North Texas SC took on the Houston Dynamo 2 as part of a doubleheader.
Following an exciting win for FC Dallas against Houston Dynamo FC, the franchise introduced a few new traditions.
These included the lighting of a new shield behind the north side goal, a load of in-stadium events, and a first-ever Texas Classic doubleheader.
Although things ran smoothly for the MLS matchup, they began to crumble for the second match. North Texas rushed onto the field, immediately following the first game, and kicked off.
Due to national team obligations, both starting goalkeeper Antonio Carrera and newly promoted defensive-back Nolan Norris were unable to attend the matchup.
This meant the team had to rely on Felipe Carneiro de Souza in goal and had to call Isaiah Parker and Lucas Bartlett back down from FC Dallas.
This was also the team’s first game this season in Toyota Stadium in Frisco, rather than their usual home of Choctaw Stadium in Arlington.
In spite of all these changing conditions, however, the team came out strong. They combined well up top and continued pressing high on defense.
Early on, they were able to intercept the ball, and four one-touch passes led to José Mulato playing Andre Costa into the 18-yard-box, where he then cut back and rocketed a ball top-left corner.
A magnificent breakdown of a defense that had only allowed a single goal in four wins.
Houston leveled the game with a free-kick that went straight through North Texas’s wall and followed up with a lucky deflection in first-half stoppage time to go up 2-1.
A quick throw-in and goal for Mulato seemed to finally shift momentum in favor of North Texas, who continued to create good opportunities.
That was until another defensive miscommunication allowed a cross into their own 6-yard-box. A misstep by subbed on defender Chase Niece and a lack of communication from Felipe was all it took for Houston to put the game away 3-2.
The feeling around the stadium was that of dismay, as the team faced a disappointing and tough loss considering how well they had played.
Despite the final result, North Texas looked the better of the two teams, spoiled by a few defensive lapses.
Against the best team in the league, they dominated possession and passing accuracy, while having the better goalscoring opportunities.
They also did well to take back momentum, and looked tactically sound, with Collin Smith, André Luiz Costa, and Mulato excelling in their roles.
Luis Miguel also came on for Hope Avayevu in the 66th minute and looked deadly with his pace.
Others, however, didn’t look so amazing.
Santiago Ferreira was taken off at the half, after committing two harsh fouls and earning a yellow card just before the break.
Bartlett and Paul Amedume, looked solid defensively and were unlucky to allow two goals in the first half.
That said, come the second half, Amedume needed to be subbed off for Chase Niece, shifting Bartlett from left-center back to the right.
By Houston’s third goal, the team had clearly shifted towards a defensive mindset, but Bartlett’s tired legs, and detrimental play from subs Niece and Blake Pope, meant the team’s fate had already been written.
Next week, the team will take on Sporting KC II, who have been scoreless in two matches leading into their game tonight against Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2.
By then, the team should be back to their regular winning ways, given more time to organize and practice with their defensive rotations.