FRISCO — USL League One leaders North Texas SC (11-4-5, 38 points) visits second place Lansing Ignite FC (9-9-5, 36 points) at Cooley Law School Stadium on Thursday August 22 at 6:00 PM CT. North Texas has the edge in the season series, drawing 2-2 in Lansing and winning the home fixture 3-1. This match means that for the first time this season, North Texas will be playing the highest scoring team while they are second highest scorers.
North Texas SC enters this matchup feeling confident. NTSC drew its last home game against FC Tucson 1-1. Arturo Rodriguez's 79th minute equalizer meant went unanswered, and the team then went on to face Chattanooga Red Wolves, who were unbeaten at home. North Texas emerged victorious, courtesy of goals by Callum Montgomery and Ronaldo Damus. NTSC have improved its road form recently, and the win over Chattanooga means that Frisco based team has won two of its last three road matches. The two goals in Tennessee means that in the last three halves of soccer, North Texas has scored an unanswered goal.
Lansing Ignite FC come into the game as the form team in USL League one. Lansing are unbeaten in nine games, and their most recent loss was actually the loss they suffered in Toyota Stadium to North Texas SC in Week 14. A nine-game unbeaten streak is the Michigan based team's longest such streak of the season. Lansing has also been dominant at home, winning three of its last four games at Cooley Law School Stadium.
Players to Watch
North Texas has sported a much improved defense in its last few games, and have not conceded from open play in its last three matches. One key to its improved defense has been Imanol Almaguer, who recently signed a three-year professional contract, graduating from the FC Dallas Academy. He has played a variety of positions this year but seems to have found a home at right back. His recent play has been excellent, winning 10 of 16 duels, which is representative of a year where he has won more than 50% of his duels and is third in the team in interceptions.
Lansing have reached the top of the scoring chart in USL League one despite not having a player who has scored more than five goals. However, one of the players to reach five goals, Rafael Mentzingen, is an offense dynamo. The Brazilian born winger is tied for most goals, while also leads the team in shots and shots on target. He is a proven threat no matter where he is on the field, scoring a goal in each of his last two games. Mentzingen can provide for his teammates as well. He is tied for the team lead in assists and boasts a passing accuracy of 90% in his own half, helping his team start attacks and build from the back.