On Friday, May 20th, North Texas SC took down the Real Monarchs 3-0 in another dominant performance.
An absolutely beautiful night at Zions Bank Stadium in Herriman City, Utah, set the stage for the MLS NEXT Pro game of the week.
This win not only put the team atop the Western Conference but at a record of 6-1-2 with a third of the season played.
The team also saw the return of Antonio Carrera from FC Dallas as Maarten Paes returned to FC Dallas from injury.
The versatile 17-year-old Nolan Norris also returned to the starting lineup, this time at center-back alongside Alejandro Araneda.
Carrera, who’d played alongside Norris throughout the Dallas academy said, “I’ve never played with him at center-back so when I saw that in the lineup I was a little bit surprised. In the first two minutes we got the jitters out and the rest of the game they played beautifully.”
Araneda also made his professional debut, starting in place of Paul Amedume who was held out due to entering concussion protocol after an injury during practice.
Playing at an elevation nearly a mile higher than that of Dallas, North Texas put three goals past David Ochoa.
North Texas not only created three vastly different goalscoring opportunities throughout the match but overwhelmed one of the league’s best players in its home stadium.
A great run by José Mulato earned the attention of three Monarchs defenders before the striker was able to lay the ball off for a goal by Bernard Kamungo.
Hope Avayevu and Pablo Torre would also earn spots on the scoresheet, with Collin Smith picking up his first assist of the season.
Entering International Break
The upcoming Concacaf U-20 Championship competition will decide the qualifiers for the 2023 U-20 World Cup as well as the 2024 Olympics.
The competition will impact the entirety of MLS Next Pro as most teams will forfeit some of their best players for the upcoming weeks of June 18 - July 3.
In Group E of the competition sits the U.S., Canada, Cuba, and St. Kitts and Nevis.
Amedume earned a spot on Canada’s provisional list while Carrera confirmed he’d be rejoining the U.S. team
Both will be leaving sometime this next week.
Nothing has been made public about any other possible call-ups at this time.
A Special Moment
This week General Manager Matt Denny and striker Bernard Kamungo also shared a moment of personal achievement in becoming U.S. citizens.
During their naturalization ceremony, the two met up with one another and took their “Oath of Allegiance” together.
For Denny, he felt it was a natural transition after spending most of his adult life working in the U.S.
For Kamungo however, was born in a Tanzanian refugee camp and arrived in the U.S. at 14-years-old. He spent the last six years living in Abilene where he played high school soccer before earning a spot as a walk-on with North Texas SC.
“It was tough to be a refugee, I was young. I could see all that my family was going through, so it was really tough on them. I’m pretty sure they will be so proud of me when I tell them that I am a finally a United States citizen,” Kamungo said.
A nice sentiment going into the team’s two-week break before they return on June 4th against the Colorado Rapids 2.