North Texas SC has now seen its third result in three away games, coming away with a 3-2 loss against Toronto FC II. This was NTSC’s first ever loss in a professional game, and it came in an exciting and dramatic match in which NTSC staged a two-goal comeback before Toronto put a third goal in to take the win. NTSC’s goals came from Ricardo Pepi and Ronaldo Damus, with Damus assisting on Pepi’s goal.
Eric Quill’s side had two changes to their lineup from the week before against Forward Madison FC, and both changes were to the backline. Callum Montgomery started in place of Cesar Murillo at center back, and Jonathan Gomez, a 15-year-old touted FC Dallas Academy prospect, started at left back instead of Imanol Almaguer.
NTSC subbed in Gibran Rayo for David Rodriguez in the 70th minute, Dante Sealy for Bicou Bissainthe in the 81st minute, and Oscar Romero for Callum Montgomery in the 88th minute.
On the other side, Toronto FC II did not have Griffin Dorsey on their game roster. Dorsey leads TFC II in assists with three.
Toronto FC II took the early lead in the 12th minute. Julian Dunn shot the ball from the endline, and Carlos Avilez made a save that deflected the ball into the crossbar, and fell to Patrick Bunk-Andersen to head home. The initial shot was one that Carlos Avilez probably should have done better with on the save.
NTSC had a close opportunity in 20th minute, when a David Rodriguez corner kick deflected towards goal, but was saved before it could cross the line.
Then in the 21st minute, Ronaldo Damus found David Rodriguez in space at top of box, and David’s shot was blocked by a defender.
Ricardo Pepi was very nearly able to convert in the 23rd minute. A quick pass from Arturo Rodriguez to his brother, David, helped NTSC get out of their own end. David played a through pass which found its way to Pepi, who took a shot off the post.
In the 26th minute, TFC II forward Jacob Shaffelburg stripped the ball from Bicou Bissainthe and got the ball to Matthew Srbely, who made no mistake to double Toronto’s lead.
A free kick headed in during the 36th minute nearly gave Toronto a three-goal lead, but it was called offside.
Pepi cut the lead in half the minute before halftime. Damus played a ball from midfield which found Pepi, who opened up his hips to place a shot into the far upper corner.
In the 54th minute, Shaffelburg put a shot off the post at one end, and two passes later for NTSC, the ball was at the feet of Arturo Rodriguez at the other end. Arturo dribbled past a defender and struck a ball which was saved by TFC II keeper Kevin Silva, but the rebound fell to Damus, who scored his 3rd goal of the season.
In the 65th minute, Pepi played a nice back-heel flick to David Rodriguez, who passed the ball to his brother, Arturo. Arturo cut the ball for a right-footed shot that was saved.
Carlos Avilez kept the game level in the 74th minute with a near post save on a shot by Noble Okello.
Toronto found the game winner in the 77th minute. Terique Mohammed put the ball in the net after a chipped pass by Shaffelburg.
In the 90th minute, it looked like NTSC had another equalizer when Alfusainey Jatta put in an Arturo Rodriguez free kick, but Jatta was whistled offside.
There was drama right at the end of the game. NTSC was given an indirect free kick inside the box, but Pepi’s shot was blocked by a defender, and the final whistle blew soon after, ending the game 3-2 in favor of TFC II.
- North Texas still sits on top of the league standings with 19 points from eight games, but South Georgia Tormenta FC is right behind them, with 18 points from nine games thus far.
- Toronto FC II’s win propelled them to 3rd place, having 13 points from eight games.
- There were a lot of offside calls that went against NTSC in this game. In fact, there were 14.
- Ronaldo Damus has been on fire lately. He has scored a goal in each of his past three starts. In this game, he added a goal and an assist.
- This was NTXSC’s first of four away matches in a row.
North Texas SC will prepare to take on the Richmond Kickers on Saturday, June 1, at 6:00 PM CT.