- Eight players made their North Texas SC debuts
- Forward Hope Avayevu scored the club’s first goal of 2023
- Sixteen-year-old goalkeeper Julian Eyestone saved a penalty in the 90th minute
LOS ANGELES, CA (March 26, 2023) – North Texas SC began its 2023 MLS NEXT Pro campaign with a 1-0 win over LAFC2 at Titan Stadium Sunday night.
Forwards Bernard Kamungo and Hope Avayevu combined to score North Texas SC’s first goal of the 2023 season with Kamungo crossing for Avayevu to open the scoring. The duo combined for 35 goals and assists during the 2022 MLS NEXT Pro season. The goal was Avayevu’s sixth-career goals for the club.
Eight players made their competitive North Texas SC debuts in tonight’s match: Tyshawn Rose, Henri Santos, Amet Korça, Herbert Endeley, Diego Garcia, Tomas Pondeca, Anthony Ramirez and Diego Pepi.
HE’S A KEEPER
Goalkeeper Julian Eyestone made three saves, including a penalty stop in the 90th minute to preserve the 1-0 shutout win. It was the 16-year-old’s second-ever professional match, after making his pro debut on Sept. 18, 2022 against Houston Dynamo 2.
Tonight’s win moved North Texas to a perfect 5-0-0 record in season-opening matches since the club’s inaugural season in 2019.
North Texas SC will head to the West coast once again as they take on LA Galaxy II at Dignity Health Sports Park on Sunday, April 2 at 7PM CT. The match will be streamed on MLSNEXTPro.com for free.
North Texas SC — Julian Eyestone, Tyshawn Rose, Henri Santos, Amet Korça, Herbert Endeley, Alejandro Urzua, André Costa, Diego García (Tomas Pondeca - 65’), Hope Avayevu (Alex Araneda - 90’), José Mulato (Anthony Ramirez - 84’), Bernard Kamungo (Diego Pepi - 84’)
Substitutes not used — Justin Stewart, Manuel Caicedo, Diego Hernandez
Los Angeles Football Club 2 — Abraham Romero, Noah Dollenmayer, Armando Avila, Diego Rosales, Julian Gaines, Jeremi Rodriguez, Nathan Rafael Ordaz, Christopher Jaime, Erik Dueñas, Ladji Malle (Favian Vazquez - 61’), Yekeson Subah (Dustin Aguirre - 61’)
Substitutes not used — Jassem Koleilat, Christian Diaz, Alixson Soukup, Tamir Ratoviz, Antonio Leone, Ryan Ayoub
NTX: Hope Avayevu (Bernard Kamungo) — 9’
LAFC: Julian Gaines (caution) — 15’
LAFC: Noah Dollenmayer (caution) — 22’
LAFC: Noah Dollenmayer (ejection) — 50’
LAFC: Ladji Malle (caution) — 56’
NTX: Alejandro Urzua (caution) — 57’
LAFC: Christopher Jaime (caution) — 77’
NTX: Hope Avayevu (caution) — 82’
NTX: Tyshawn Rose (caution) — 83’
Weather: Cloudy, 65°F
Post Game Quotes
Head Coach Javier Cano
On the team’s chemistry in the first game of the season…
“We started the game with three 06s (players born in 2006) in the lineup, I don’t know how many teams in this league will play with that many young players in the starting lineup. So it says they’re ready. For the chemistry, it’s easy for this team. We have different nationalities and cultures but in the end, they’re all good guys and that’s what’s most important. We’re not just looking for good players, we’re looking for good people and this is the question we ask of our scouts around the world.”
On which players stood out…
“We can highlight the effort from Hope (Avayevu). Hope’s an extraordinary player and he gave us the first goal. He finished the second half and maintained the team’s energy. He’s a silent leader and I’m very happy with his performance today. The game was getting a little bit crazy and we thought we needed to take him out because he had a yellow card. Other than that, he had an extraordinary game.”
On Tyshawn Rose’s performance…
“I can touch on many players but for me, Tyshawn did really well. He was tired at the end and we were thinking of subbing him but we added a center back to allow him to go forward more and have 1v1 duels knowing he had an extra body at the back. He’s a guy who can give us a lot of poise in our style of play, how he can be a winger, a fullback and his technique is very good. We’ll see what level he can achieve this year.”
Goalkeeper Julian Eyestone
On the win and the clean sheet…
“Starting off the year right feels great. The boys put in a big effort today and that is something to be proud of. It is something we can build on and take it into the next game to keep going with this mentality.”
On the penalty kick save sequence…
“I am just thinking about what I am seeing this guy do. Leading up to the kick, I was observing his run up, motion and any movements he would do. I am thinking that I am going to save it and there was no way I would let him score. I am thankful to help the team out in getting the win.”
On the difference between Academy and Pro level…
“The speed of play at the Academy level is way higher. I felt the team morale, spirit and energy tonight similar to the Academy level. Quality at the pro level is much sharp and faster, so it is something you have to get used to quickly.”