At 4 p.m. today North Texas SC will take on the Tacoma Defiance for the second time this season.
This time playing at home, North Texas will look to carry on their positive momentum from last weeks 2-0 win over Sporting KC II.
The last match between the two ended in a 1-1 draw which was later decided by penalties.
A save by Antonio Carrera and a heroic final penalty from Isaiah Parker handed North Texas an additional point after their only tie of the season.
Visiters Tacoma Defiance
Since then, Tacoma has restructured its offense to become the second highest scoring team in the league behind Alfonso Ocampo-Chávez.
Ocampo-Chávez currently leads the league with six goals and was recently celebrated as the league’s Player of the Month.
Last weekend Tacoma took on league leaders Houston Dynamo 2 at home. Having previously conceded the fewest goals in the entire league, Tacoma spoiled their dominant unbeaten streak with a 4-1 thrashing.
In that match, the Sounders rested their usual starters, calling in Josh Atencio, Abdoulaye Cissoko, and Samuel Adeniran from Tacoma.
This means today’s game will likely feature a bit of rotation from last week’s dominant lineup.
NTX defender Paul Amedume added, “We don’t know how Tacoma will line up, but as long as we do what we do I feel like we can beat anybody.”
We’ll have to wait and see if we get Tacoma’s regular high flying offense or an adjusted strategy come game time.
North Texas SC
In preparation for the game coach Pa-Modou Kah said, “So far its been about what we do, what we do when we have the ball and what we do when they have the ball.”
Admitting that although Tacoma got a goal past their defense last time around, this time they’re expecting different results.
North Texas will also finally see the return of star goalkeeper Carrera.
Statistically one of the best goalkeepers in the league, Carrera has spent the last three weeks with the USYNT. He’ll be looking to get the clean sheet today against a weakened Tacoma, continuing his slow climb up the FC Dallas depth chart.
The other lock-in starters are Hope Avayevu, Bernard Kumango, and captain Derek Waldeck.
After last week’s shutout of SKCII we’ll likely see the same defensive lineup, unless coach Kah feels Nolan Norris has caught up enough in practice to rejoin the starters.
In the midfield, 17-year-old Santiago Ferreira is the only other member of the team to start all six games. He continues to have one of the highest ceilings on the whole roster and will be paired with either Andre Costa or Blaine Ferri.
Up top, we’ve seen a rotation of strikers José Mulato, Pablo Torre, and Tarik Scott.
With the success of Avayevu and Kamungo on the wings, Mulato has most recently been used to stretch-out and tire opposing defenses. He also missed out on a couple goalscoring opportunities last weekend, so today may be his chance at redemption.