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North Texas travels to Minnesota with the playoffs on their mind

In a potential playoff clincher, North Texas will face Minnesota United FC 2 away.

On Saturday, September 3rd at 6 pm, North Texas SC will look for another dominant performance against Minnesota United 2.

NTSC have faced Minnesota twice this season outscoring them 7-1. Nonetheless, Minnesota have found success elsewhere this season and still sits within playoff contention.

With North Texas coming off of their second bye week of the season following an impressive shootout victory over Colorado Rapids 2, the team still has plenty of challenges ahead.

With only three games left, North Texas needs four points to ensure their spot in the playoffs. Tough matches against Saint Louis City 2 and Dynamo Dos are all that remain after Minnesota. This means tomorrow’s game is their best remaining opportunity to earn three points.

Before diving into tomorrow’s match, however, let’s discuss Bernard Kamungo’s new contract with FC Dallas and North Texas’s previous match against the Rapids.

Bernard Kamungo

After an incredible rise to stardom, Kamungo has signed with FC Dallas through 2025 with a club option through 2027.

It’s extremely rare to see a player make the jump from second-team tryouts to MLS player in just under two years. His breakout performance this season may just see him win the golden boot as well as North Texas’s single-season record of 16 goals. Kamungo also sits just two goals shy of the team’s all-time scoring record of 21.

With the sale of Szabolcs Schön, Dallas’s impressive front three of Jesus Ferreira, Alan Velasco and Paul Arriola are only backed by Franco Jara and Jader Obrian. With Jara’s overpriced contract set to expire, Dallas will likely look elsewhere in filling their DP spot, and look to the likes of Beni Redzic and Kamungo as backups next season.

As for this season, Kamungo will remain with North Texas for the time being. Although Kamungo will have the option to play for FC Dallas this year, he’ll be a full-time member of North Texas for their season-ending playoff push. He’ll likely only join the first team once North Texas’s season comes to an end.

Last match

North Texas battled to a 1-1 draw against the Colorado Rapids 2. In the penalty shootout that followed, they’d win 3-0 to secure an extra point.

Colorado played a surprisingly deep line despite facing playoff elimination. Against the high pressing system of North Texas, it’s usually a good counter and almost worked on the day.

The biggest question going into that match was the role of the six for North Texas.

Tomas Lacerda began the match at the six and made way for new signing Carl Fred Sainté in the second half. Both of whom struggled, however.

Although Jared Aguilar had looked decent at the six earlier in the season, the 17-year-old still has a long way to come. André Costa has also been tested at the six, but both players function better as attacking-minded midfielders. Especially Costa, who given the right circumstances can produce shots like this:

A shot that would’ve won the match had Colorado not scored off of a corner-kick in the 92nd minute.

After two remarkable shootout saves by Antonio Carrera, NTX would close out the day with a perfect 3-0 shootout win.

Following the match, Coach Pa-Modou Kah had this to say about Sainté’s debut: “He’s a high-character guy. It was good to see him in his 45 minutes today and he’ll understand more and more of how we play. But I think he gave the boys a boost being in the middle of the park.”

This Week

Tomorrow’s road match will see North Texas travel to Allianz Field in Minnesota.

With the San Jose Earthquakes II hot on their tail, a win tonight and a tie or loss for the Earthquakes mean automatic playoff qualification for North Texas. Tomorrow’s result could be their most important all season.

The game will be played with a motivated Kamungo who will certainly be chasing club records.

Besides him, Hope Avayevu, who’s already signed to North Texas through 2023, has had a similar path to success under coach Kah. He will likely see Kamungo’s move as evidence that he too can make the first team sometime soon.

Collin Smith, who Kah has noted as Dallas’s future right-back, sat out the last game due to yellow card accumulation. Now with two full weeks of rest under his belt, he’ll look to provide another clutch performance.

Let it be known that if North Texas is in a tight battle late in the game, Smith will step up and provide a scoring opportunity. All North Texas needs is a clinical finish from one of their attackers.

Although Minnesota is a decent opponent, their playing style has played into Kah’s hand numerous times. An attack-heavy team with talented forwards that is prone to making mistakes. The kind of mistakes that North Texas have been quick to capitalize on this season. Unless Minnesota have made significant changes to its game plan, the match should play out as a textbook North Texas performance.

That is as long as they’ve figured out who’s playing the six. Now in his third week with the team, Sainté may start for North Texas. In limited time last game, Sainté was often out of position and quiet on the field. That being said, he played far below what he’s capable of, and tomorrow’s match could be a complete 180 from what we’ve seen so far.

We’ll see tomorrow how the team fairs under pressure. Make sure to catch the game on mlsnextpro.com.