Tonight, North Texas SC will take on Sporting Kansas City II at 7 p.m.
North Texas lost that game 3-2 with coach Pah-Modou Kah stating, “My assistant coach Michel gave the best analysis of the game, we scored two great goals and gave away three silly goals.”
North Texas scored two stunning goals from Andre Costa and José Mulato. Both of which came from excellent build-up where the team looked fully on the same page.
Defensively, however, things looked very different. A gap in the wall, an unlucky deflection, and a defensive lapse. It was a tough way for North Texas to suffer their first loss of the season, especially to their biggest rival.
For this team to continue to look sharp, they’ll have to improve defensively against SKCII.
They’ll have to make do without any additions from FC Dallas as the team remains adamant they can manage with the players they already have.
The team will also be without star goalkeeper, Antonio Carrera, for the second straight match along with defensive back, Nolan Norris.
Both of whom are carrying out national team responsibilities as two out of six total FC Dallas academy players to earn a call-up.
They’ll be preparing for this summer’s 2022 Concacaf U-20 Championship in Honduras. A competition that will also serve as qualification for the 2023 FIFA U-20 World Cup and the 2024 Olympics.
Each of their separate camps comes to an end today, so the two should be back training with the team soon.
Since their loss to Houston, North Texas has dropped from second to fifth in overall points, leaving Houston at the top of the table.
In the Western Conference, they’ve dropped to fourth place and are on the brink of playoff qualification.
Rest assured, the season is long, and the team doesn’t feel too much pressure regarding their current situation.
Kah added, “We don’t dwell on losses, we have a 24-hour rule, that’s it. Be disappointed for 24-hours, then get back to work.”
The team went on to spend their week the usual way. Gleefully and with their traditions of training competitions and group activities.
This week’s group activity was spent supporting the team’s equipment manager Dorian Hernandez, in his own midweek match. Kah relayed that the players showed up and cheered Hernandez on from the sideline.
Like the players, let’s move on.
SKCII have struggled to start the season earning a single win in five matches.
In their last three games, they’ve been outscored 8-to-1, including their latest 4-1 loss to Whitecaps FC 2.
Form can be deceiving, however, as today will mark their fifth straight game against a top seven opponent in the league.
Perhaps this team isn’t as bad as the record shows, and they’ve instead been dealt a poor hand.
Regardless, things don’t get any easier today with North Texas’s multi-layered attack of Bernard Kamungo, José Mulato, and Hope Avayevu.
The attacking options don’t end there either as the team will likely incorporate Luis Miguel as well, who has been performing well at practice.
North Texas’s sole weakness continues to be their defensive play.
Both defensive backs are attacking-minded players, and all three center-back options are strong defenders, who happen to be a bit slow.
The team will continue to rely on Brazilian goalkeeper, Felipe, today. Felipe has shown he is a fine shot-stopper, but tonight he’ll need to show he’s improved on his ability to communicate with his defenders.
In regards to whether the team will make any tactical adjustments this week, Coach Kah persisted, “The boys understand how we want to play, we don’t change that because of a loss.”
I’d be surprised if the defense didn’t look much better today.
A shortened pre-game, midweek roster moves, and unexpected national team call-ups left the team a bit scrambled last week. This time, I’m expecting a big, but not complete turnaround from the defense possibly with the help of a more defensive-minded Blake Pope on the outside.
The offense, however, should carry things out in their usual way. They just put two goals past the best defense in the league, and I expect them to try and expose SKCII early on to gain momentum.
My final guess is a 3-1 win for a North Texas side that’s improved on most of its issues, but not all.
Make sure to check out the stream for the game at MLSNEXTPro.com.