North Texas Falls Short Against MUFC2
In an evening cap at Minnesota, North Texas SC is unable to rally afer giving up two goals. Read Coach John Gall's take from the result.
Coming off of a big win at home, North Texas SC was hoping to turn the page and finish the season strong, making a late push for a playoff position.
Unfortunately, those hopes continue to dim after North Texas fell behind against Minnesota United FC 2 and were unable to claw their way back.
A late goal from Tomas Pondeca gave North Texas some hope, and while a furious attacking onslaught followed, the team lacked that little bit of extra luck to get the ball into the back of the net.
This match was a tale of two halves. In the first half, while North Texas held the home side scoreless, they struggled to advance the ball, giving up turnover after turnover into the midfield that led to Minnesota generating numerous chances. North Texas ended with just a single shot and shot on goal in the first half.
Interim head coach John Gall mentioned the pitch as an issue.
“It took us a while to get used to the pitch here. The turf was quite thick. It took us a while to figure out how aggressive to be,” Gall said. “Overall, technically, it took us some time to get into the game, but I think we felt we took it to the opponent.”
The second half was much brighter for the team, although they allowed their first goal early in the second half. Still, the team looked much more dangerous and connected. Jose Mulato was active in the final third but had his shots blocked or wasn’t able to get enough on the ball to trouble the keeper.
A bevy of substitutes brought more intensity, but Minnesota found another goal during a counterattack that doomed North Texas.
With Pondeca’s goal, a blistering shot from the top of the box in the 84th minute, there was a spark of life but not enough time.
In some ways, this match reflects this team’s overall form in 2023, let down by defensive mistakes that make it hard for any attack to claw their way back.
I asked Coach Gall if he might have lined up differently considering how this game went.
“The score always dictates in the game when you need to make changes. I certainly thought in the second half, I thought we were much more composed and in control. The second goal was against the run of play," Gall said. “We made changes. It’s not just the starting XI. The expectation is that the guys coming off the bench will raise the game. I thought we did enough to get the equalizer.”
Tomas Pondeca, speaking to media after the match, acknowledged the uneven approach to the match.
“I think we just started off on a bad foot. We weren’t connecting the passes that we needed to connect,” Tomas said. “In the second half, I thought we had a little bit of life.”
North Texas SC sits in 11th place right now, still only about 6 points out from a potential playoff spot. Unfortunately, they have played 22 games while others ahead of them have played 19 or so. It will be tough, though not impossible, to make up that ground with six games left. The pressure is on for this young team.
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