North Texas Faces Tacoma Defiance
It's a late matchup for North Texas SC as they travel to the Pacific Northwest and look for a result against a tough opponent.
Here are the basic facts of this matchup as things kick off on Sunday at 10 PM CST - Tacoma Defiance are 4th in the Western Conference of MLS Next Pro, and North Texas is in 10th.
The good news - just 7 points separate the two teams.
A draw or a win would give a boost to North Texas trying to make up some ground as the second half of the season swings into action.
Head Coach Javier Cano agreed. “Tacoma is now in a very good moment. They beat Austin and Colorado, winning the last 3 out of 4. It is a team that is now very strong. The way they play, they make it hard for their opponents. They know their strength. If we want to be in the top spot, it will be a test.”
There is other good news for North Texas. Hope Aveyevu, after making a big difference in the draw against LAFC 2, should be available, whether starting or off the bench. His fitness is still a work in progress, and the staff don’t want to rush him back since they will need him in the coming stretch of games. The team as a whole is more dangerous when he is out there.
And while the available player pool is a bit smaller with some FC Dallas academy players beginning to transition to college, Cano will have more than enough to put together a competitive squad.
Carl Sainte is available to feature, despite being a bit worn out after a significant number of minutes with the Haitian first team in the Gold Cup.
“The feedback we got from the last game for Haiti, he was so tired. He feels like heavy legs,” Cano said. “With him, we could be more conservative.”
Keys for North Texas remain the same - the offense has been more than potent, able to generate chances and opportunities whether on the fast break or in the final third. Can they sharpen defensively by maintaining their concentration and not fall behind early or give up heartbreaking goals? These are the challenges of being a young team, but at some point, the staff and fans are hoping the young players flip a switch and make that next step collectively.
In the bigger picture, reinforcements are evidently on the way.
“We are working on that. We are working to add value to our roster. We are working to add academy kids to the next level,” Cano said. “In the following days, there will be more news about that.”
It is a late start for most fans in the central time zone, but it may be worth staying up late.
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