North Texas SC fought the circumstances to come away with an assertive 3-0 win against the Richmond Kickers. The match was away, and was after only a few days rest from NTSC’s loss on Wednesday against Toronto FC II while Richmond had a full week’s rest. Richmond is a team that played in the USL in previous years before USL League One formed this year as a tier underneath the increasingly successful USL. The Richmond Kickers, not being a development side for any MLS side, has a much older roster than NTSC, so this match gave great experience for the young NTSC players. The mean age of the players that started for Richmond is 25.55 years old while the mean age for the NTSC starters is 18.36. Of the three NTSC goal scorers in this match, Dante Sealy and Ricardo Pepi are just 16 while David Rodriguez is only 17.
Dante Sealy was inserted into the lineup on the right wing, and it’s pretty safe to say he is gonna stay in the lineup, after putting in a performance to remember, scoring his first professional goal and adding two assists to go along with it. Cesar Murillo started at center back replacing Callum Montgomery from last week. Interestingly, Montgomery was not in the 18-man gameday rosters for either NTSC or FC Dallas. He was not on the FC Dallas injury report either. He may have gotten the game off or picked up a small knock or something, or maybe NTSC coach Eric Quill just wanted to try a change at center back. Jonathan Gomez, the youngest player on NTSC at 15 years of age, got his 2nd straight start for the club at left back. He is a player that certainly has tons of potential, and looks like he belongs on the field.
Gibran Rayo subbed in for Dante Sealy in the 76th minute, and Hector Montalvo subbed in for Alfusainey Jatta in the 89th minute, making his debut for the club. Hector Montalvo is a 21-year-old defender who was a key player in the FC Dallas Academy with the U-18s before going to play at Grand Canyon University for one semester. He then moved to Tigres in Mexico to play with the Tigres U-20s.
North Texas SC and the Richmond Kickers began the match slowly. Richmond had a lot more possession than NTSC, but was not able to do much with that possession in the way of chance creation. In the 24rd minute, Arturo Rodriguez won the ball from Richmond in midfield with the help of Kevin Bonilla. Arturo dribbled dangerously at the opposition defense and played a cross to Ricardo Pepi which was turned away by a defender.
North Texas SC scored its first goal of the match in the 27th minute. Ronaldo Damus used his speed to get up the field. His shot deflected off a defender and found a wide open Dante Sealy at the back post, who tapped in his 1st professional goal.
In the 31st minute, Pepi showed his athleticism to find space around a couple of defenders and play a shot to test the Richmond keeper. His shot was saved for an NTSC corner kick.
In the 42nd minute, NTSC had a nice quick sequence of passes from Alfusainey Jatta to Arturo Rodriguez to Damus, who played a give-and-go with Pepi. Pepi’s return pass nearly found Damus, but the Richmond keeper was quick off his line to smother the ball right before Damus could reach it.
Right at the beginning of the 2nd half, a really nice pass by Jatta found Damus to create a good scoring chance.
Pepi scored his seventh goal of the season in the 63rd minute. Dante Sealy intercepted a pass and played it to Pepi, who took two touches to turn and then shoot a stunning shot from outside the box which bounced into the net off the bottom of the crossbar.
NTSC made it 3-0 in the 68th minute. Sealy created this goal by using a burst of speed to get to the end line and cut the ball back to David Rodriguez, who found the back of net.
Pepi had the last shot of the game, and it was a shot on goal which required a good save from the goalkeeper.
- Ricardo Pepi scored his seventh goal in just six games with NTSC. Incredible. He looked excellent on the field, and was involved in a lot of good chances.
- This was a breakout game for Dante Sealy, who had a goal, two assists, and generally looked really good on the field, both on offense and on defense.
- Bicou Bissainthe does not get a lot of headlines at his position, but he has been doing a lot of the dirty work for this side. He was really good at tracking back and helping NTSC win the ball back from Richmond.
- It kind of surprised me when I realized that Alfusainey Jatta is only 19 years old. He is a natural leader for this side, and has great quality on the field. He has a lot of physical tools in his size and strength, and he is also great on the ball. He has been at center back, which is different from his usual position at center midfield.
- Here are NTSC’s goals and assists so far this year:
After defeating the Richmond Kickers, North Texas SC is halfway through a run of 4 road matches in a row. They can now take a breather before going on the road again for their next match against Toronto FC II on Wednesday, June 12 at 3:00 pm CT.