In North Texas SC’s first visit to Canada since 2019, they’ll kickoff at 9 p.m. tonight at Swangard Stadium in Burnaby, British Columbia.
In their previous matchup North Texas quietly dominated the Whitecaps FC 2, resulting in a 1-0 scoreline.
This time however, North Texas will be putting their league best 4-0-1 away record against the Whitecaps undefeated 3-0-3 record at home.
The Whitecaps have already enjoyed back-to-back games at home this month as part of a four game stretch home-stand for the entire month of June.
The Whitecaps previous match ended in an overtime shootout loss to the Tacoma Defiance, which per MLS Next Pro rules still results in a tie on the league table. A lot can be said about going toe-to-toe with one of the league’s best teams in Tacoma, and North Texas will need to be a bit more professional than they were last match if they are to manage.
For context you can read about that here.
Once again North Texas will be without the likes of Antonio Carrera, Lucas Bartlett and Tarik Scott. They will however see the return of Tomas Lacerda who has returned from injury. The team will also welcome back Nolan Norris who debuted for the U.S. U-19s in back-to-back starts against England and Norway.
If he’s fully fit there should be no surprise if Norris slots right back into the starting lineup given his great run of form.
On the other side of the pitch the Whitecaps will be missing the likes of Matteo Campagna, Ben Alexander and Eric White via Canada U-20 obligations. Super-sub striker Joseph Hanson will also be sitting this one out after earning two yellow cards last week for time-wasting.
They’ll return to the pitch after only four days rest and in ugly fashion. The first team just suffered a 4-0 loss to the Seattle Sounders, so some of their better performers may be exploring a first-team spot this week.
Nonetheless, he game will remain a testament as to whether North Texas can rebound after a relatively lackluster performance. They’ve maintained their spot at the top of the league table and now is as good a time as ever to have a statement game.
Center-back Paul Amedume opened up about the match in a midweek press conference:
“I expect them to come out on the front foot and dominate the ball early. They are going to try and take advantage of the fact that they will be playing at home. We are just trying to focus on ourselves and play the way we know how to.”
Amedume insisted the game will likely remain close as well, but there’s plenty of upside to his outlook.
If North Texas does in fact play the way they know how to, they’ll continue to press high for downfield interceptions and push for counterattacks over the top. North Texas leads the league in long-ball accuracy and sit second in total long-ball played. Alejandro Araneda’s pass to José Mulato for their first goal against the Timbers 2 last week was perfectly indicative of their ability over the top.
The Whitecaps attacking play-style puts them near the top of the table in both goals and total passes, with a huge drop-off when it comes to passing accuracy.
If North Texas plays their normal game then they should have the advantage in this one.
Make sure to watch the game on https://www.mlsnextpro.com/video/live-streams/.