After a close victory against Minnesota United FC 2, North Texas SC were nearly in the clear for playoff contention.
Then a late season push by the San Jose Earthquakes II saw them battle Sporting KC II and Whitecaps FC 2, outscoring the two 7-2. Their dreams would come to an end against Real Monarchs, however, as an early two-goal lead led to a second-half tie and eventual shootout loss.
Soon after, North Texas had their playoff-clinching moment in a 3-1 defeat of St. Louis City 2. NTSC were in the midst of their own impressive playoff push resulting in a six-game unbeaten streak.
In fact, their last defeat came during a horrific July in which NTX picked up three of their five losses on the season. The 2-0 shutout from St. Louis would be coach Pa-Modou Kah’s only of the season.
This loss would propel NTX towards some internal changes. The team said goodbye to long-time captain Derek Waldeck and welcomed in a temporary replacement in Carl Fred Sainté.
Their revenge against St. Louis this past Sunday also resulted in a record-breaking brace for Bernard Kamungo.
Aside from a late clean-sheet loss, it was an excellent showing of how well they play on the counter-attack. Especially in Collin Smith’s second half run before curling in a perfect cross for Kamungo to earn his second goal.
Kamungo then became NTX’s single-season and an all-time leading goal scorer with 16 and 22 career goals in two seasons.
The newly signed FC Dallas forward sits second in the golden boot race. Hope Avayevu, who had two assists, also sits second in league-wide assists.
“It feels great to have broken that record. This feeling is great and the last couple of weeks and days have been nothing but amazing. It was something that I really didn’t expect in the preseason but I am glad that the hard work is paying off,” said Kamungo.
The win led to a multitude of playoff scenarios come Decision Day.
This afternoon every team in the league will play.
At 6 p.m., North Texas will play in their third and final matchup of the season against Houston Dynamo 2.
North Texas is yet to win against Dynamo 2, but remains tied in the Western Conference. In fact, North Texas has a five-point advantage in goal-differential.
Despite scoring five goals in two matches, Kah has had a difficult time breaking down Houston’s defense. The Dynamo have held onto a record of 9-0-1 at home this season, compared to NTX’s road record of 5-3-3.
Make sure to watch their final match of the season at mlsnextpro.com.
Decision Day will feature 10 intra-conference matches: five Eastern Conference games will kick off at 2 p.m., followed by five Western Conference games beginning at 6 p.m.
League personalities Samara Perez and Michelle Montaine will also host American soccer legend Charlie Davies for a post-game special beginning at 9 p.m.
As things currently stand, NTSC sits in third place and is destined to face St. Louis once again. Houston and the Tacoma Defiance would play in the 1-vs-4 seed matchup.
On the final match-day of the season, Tacoma will face a Portland Timbers 2 whom they’ve outscored 9-2 in two matches.
The only way they move out of first is if they lose and St. Louis defeats Sporting K.C. II, a team they’ve already beaten twice.
If the Defiance loses and St. Louis wins, an NTSC win/tie will see them face the Defiance, whereas a loss pairs them up with St. Louis.
A win by 3/+ goals for Dynamo 2 and a tie/loss for St. Louis would give NTX a first-round matchup against the Defiance.
Otherwise, NTSC are destined to face St. Louis once again.
With so much on the line, make sure to keep up with Decision Day and North Texas’s derby against Dynamo 2.