Gameday for North Texas SC
North Texas SC welcomes Real Monarchs tonight at Choctaw Stadium. Head Coach Javier Cano spoke with Afterburn about the progress of his team.
It’s already been an up and down season for North Texas Soccer Club.
After back to back away wins to kick the season off, the team suffered two blowout losses, one at home due to inexperience, youth, and bad luck. Since then, the squad has improved with a come from behind win against Minnesota United FC 2 last weekend.
On Wednesday morning, we talked with Head Coach Javier Cano about the team’s progress and the match against Real Monarchs.
How is the team looking to take the next step against the Monarchs?
“The team looks focused, very concentrated. They need to keep growing. They don’t need to let the opponent be in the game,” Cano said, acknowledging how some of the mistakes of the squad have been mental.
Overall, North Texas should have a mostly healthy roster to pick from. Star winger Hope Avayevu is training again. Diego Pepi is also training. Of course, their availability may depend on how the week has gone.
Real Monarchs are a young team, but for Cano that is not a reason to overlook them.
“To be young is an advantage. They beat San Jose at home. If you take this as a weakness, we will be punished,” Cano said. “If we compare with us, we are a very young team. 4 ‘06s last weekend. Tyshawn is the oldest. It will be a very nice competition. We identify what the weaknesses are - we want to try to exploit them as much as we can.”
“They have a fullback who played with RSL last year as a starter. They have some kids with experience,” Cano shook his head. “If we think they are younger - we are very focused on not making that mistake.”
As usual, North Texas SC will use the full complement of players available to them throughout a busy season, especially with international competitions on the way which will mean minutes for some of the team’s core players.
“I know the academy players and can use all of them and give them experience. Everyone is ready. Everyone will have minutes. With Diego Hernandez, he didn’t have any minutes in the first four games. He was at a great level (last weekend). It’s a great message. Malachi had 45 minutes; Nairobi came on for the last 30 minutes,” Cano said. “We have a roster of 60 players.”
Finally, the coach addressed the incredible play of Herbert Endeley who was crucial to the victory last weekend. Herbert has quality, which is why FC Dallas drafted him in the first round out of Indiana. While there was some thought to develop him long term into a fullback, he played wing in the last match and scored his first professional goal.
“He came being one of the best wingers of the NCAA at Indiana. Maybe he is a potential fullback. We have all the flexibility of the world to play him in both positions,” Cano said. “He could perform in MLS Next Pro for two years. There is time to find the best for Herbert. We use him as a winger. Sometimes we want to look something different in the game. We have full flexibility.”
One note repeated throughout the week - the wonderful crowd support that gave North Texas a boost. Cano and players all spoke about it after the game and hope fans continue to come out and show their love. It makes a difference, even in a stadium the size of Choctaw.
The match tonight kicks off at 7:30 PM CST and can be watched on MLSNextPro.com.