FRISCO — USL League One leaders North Texas SC (16-5-5, (+21) 53 points) travels to face fourth place Forward Madison FC(10-9-6, (5) 36 points) at Breese Stevens Field on Sunday, September 22nd at 4PM CT. This is the fourth edition of the self-titled rivalry “El Plastico,” and North Texas have won two of the three games. The last matchup occurred in Madison, and resulted in a 4-1 win for Madison.
North Texas FC roll into Madison in red-hot form. They have won all of their last 5, and in the process were the first team to clinch a playoff spot. Their last game was a 2-1 victory over Tormenta, and with that win North Texas clinched home field advantage for the entire playoffs. While that is certainly an advantage, the team’s recent away form have been excellent as of late. They have won 3 of their last 4 games on the road, and will feel confident going into Sunday’s game.
The race for the last two playoff spots in USL League one is tight, and Madison will know they need to win this home game to increase their chances of making the playoffs. Forward Madison have blown hot and cold this season and have played fairly well over the last five games, losing only one game in that stretch. While they have not posted the same home form of some of the teams above them in the table, they have made the most of home field advantage lately, and it’s last two wins were recorded at Breeze Stevens field.
Players to Watch
North Texas’s improved form has coincided with a more resilient back line. Key to that back line is center back Brecc Evans. Evans is the captain of NTSC, and he has led by example recently. North Texas have kept three clean sheets in their last five games, and when they conceded it kept the opposition from scoring more than one. Regardless of how the team defends, Evans has been a key performer. He is in the top 3 for aerial duels won, blocked shots, and clearances. Madison will have to get past the imposing center back to have any chance of recording a victory, and that will be a tough challenge.
As Madison push for the playoffs, they will be counting on a defense that has impressed in their last few victories, as Madison have kept a clean sheet in their last 4 victories. The team will be counting on Connor Tobin to continue his stellar play. Tobin has been excellent at the center of the defense, and leads the team in clearances and blocks. He also ranks in the top three in interceptions, aerial duels, and aerial duels won. Tobin will need to keep North Texas quiet if Madison are to emerge with points.