North Texas Eliminated at Home
In another game with multiple goals, North Texas Soccer Club went ahead twice only to see Colorado Rapids 2 surge past them to eliminate the young squad from playoff contention.
In the final minutes of North Texas’ home match against Colorado Rapids, we saw what has been on repeat, a microcosm of the young team’s up and down MLS Next Pro season.
A foul not called.
A fast break for the visiting side.
An opponent’s goal.
Players in disbelief.
An assistant coach getting a red card.
This match was a spectacle. It was North Texas soccer.
When the final whistle blew on Sunday night, most of North Texas’ squad slumped to the turf in exhaustion. You can’t fault the team’s performance, as twice they went ahead of their league-leading visitors and looked good value for their position. But key moments, a theme of this season, haunted them.
Maybe it was a missed opportunity.
Sometimes, it was just one misplaced pass.
That’s all Colorado Rapids 2 needed.
“This is a tough one. You play against a good team. We knew that mistakes would be costly tonight. We made a few errors that ultimately turned the game,” North Texas interim head coach John Gall said to media after the match. “In the first half, we were really good. We kept pushing. Mulato scores a great goal. Second half, we came out, and we knew Colorado was going to come at us. Unfortunately, we made that mistake that changed the game.”
“Obviously, this summed up the story of our season. There have been good moments, things we are trying to do. We are very frustrated the way we gave up goals,” Nolan Norris added. “At the end of the day, we have two games left against two major opponents.”
Even in a tough performance, Gall was quick to acknowledge the players who carried the confidence with them on the field. Nolan Norris, occupying a higher role as an 8 in midfield, was solid and active throughout. Jose Mulato got his ninth goal of the season. Hope Aveyevu walked away with a goal from a penalty kick and an assist.
Still, the question will turn to the remaining two games after a bye week to figure out the future for this squad. Both matches are against Texas teams, making them important for in-state bragging rights.
Gall however didn’t suggest the final two games will be a referendum on any particular player’s future with the team.
“Those decisions will be made by many people in the club. As far as I have seen, I have a definite group who have proved they are good players. Unfortunately, when you are in 10 or 11th place, sometimes the mistakes cruelly go against you,” Gall said. “We still got two games left. I think the difficult thing over the last few games has been picking a team. I have been really pleased by the amount of effort and quality the guys have been putting in. There are going to be a lot of guys fighting for these eleven spots. We will see.”
With 2023 rapidly drawing to a close, there is much uncertain about North Texas’ future, but they have an opportunity to make the ending a little brighter.
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