Ricardo Pepi is back. After being off with the U.S. Under-17, where he scored several goals in the Concacaf U-17 Championship tournament, he came back to North Texas SC and put his name back on the score sheet in USL League One. Pepi’s free kick strike, coupled with a nice goal by Arturo Rodriguez, both in the last ten minutes of play, salvaged a nice 2-2 away draw against Lansing Ignite FC.
NTSC’s lineup was another very Academy-heavy one. Cesar Murillo and Gibran Rayo both got their chances to start the match. Tanner Tessman, who had the USL League One Goal of the Week last week, started again in a midfield position. Johan Gomez started the match up top with Ricardo Pepi subbing into the match at halftime.
Bryan Reynolds, who is usually with NTSC, was instead with FC Dallas, where he subbed into the match against LAFC.
In the 11th minute, Oscar Romero found David Rodriguez on a beautiful run, and David Rodriguez’ one-timed volley around the onrushing keeper was wide of goal.
In the 29th minute, Tanner Tessman intercepted a pass and took a shot that was saved by Ignite’s keeper, Stefan Cleveland, who is on loan to the club from the Chicago Fire.
Later in the 29th minute, David Rodriguez had a similar chance outside the box in the same spot as Tessman, and his left-footed shot went over the goal.
In the 31st minute, Lansing’s Selso Saint-Duc broke through the offside trap of NTSC and was one-vs-one with Carlos Avilez, who made a fantastic save.
Lansing took the lead in the second half. First, in the 54th minute, Rafa Mentzingen made it 1-0 for Lansing with a headed goal. Then, in the 65th minute, a quick, long throw-in by Lansing caught NTSC off-guard and lead to Lansing’s second goal of the match, this time by Alex Bruce, who is on loan from San Antonio FC.
In the 83rd minute, Ricardo Pepi scored a beautiful curling free kick just outside the box into the top right corner of goal.
A few minutes later, in the 87th minute, an Arturo Rodriguez strike outside the box sneaked its way into the bottom left corner of goal to tie the match up.
NTSC kept the pressure up at the end, and Arturo Rodriguez had a penalty shout in the 92nd minute, but the referee instead awarded a free kick to Lansing and gave Arturo Rodriguez a yellow card for simulation.
The game ended with the two teams splitting the points in a 2-2 draw.
- This was Carlos Avilez’ 4th match of the season in goal for NTSC, and it was his first game to not end in a clean sheet. Avilez had a great game, however, and made multiple excellent stops on Lansing.
- Ricardo Pepi’s goal is now his 5th goal of the year for NTSC. He is now the single leading goalscorer in all of USL League One, even though he has only had 2 starts and 1 substitute appearance, while most other clubs have played 7 or 8 games already.
- Tanner Tessman was good again in the middle of the field. He has a calming presence on the ball, and makes good passes. He had a few shots on goal from outside the box, as well.
- NTSC is now not first in the league standings anymore. NTSC is second, with 16 points in six games, behind South Georgia Tormenta FC, who has 17 points from eight games. So NTSC has two games in hand to catch up one point on Tormenta.
North Texas SC has a quick turnaround, playing at home against Forward Madison FC in Toyota Stadium on Wednesday, May 22, 2019.