FRISCO—North Texas SC travels to South Carolina to take on Greenville Triumph SC on Saturday, May 4 in what will be the first-ever away game for the club.
North Texas SC enters the game as the only USL League One team with a perfect record having won all three games so far to start the season. However, those wins have all come at home in Toyota Stadium, so it will be a major test for Eric Quill’s men to keep the winning-streak alive when they go on the road this weekend. In its last game with Orlando City B, North Texas struggled to turn its midfield possession into goal-scoring chances and was fortunate to score through an Orlando City own goal in the 42nd minute from a deflected corner. However, the team defended well and limited the opponent to long-range efforts, the majority of which were off target. North Texas will need to maintain that defensive solidity on Saturday if they want to leave Greenville with a positive result.
Greenville Triumph had a strong start to their season registering two wins from their first three games. Recently, they’ve struggled to find the net having been blanked in their 1-0 loss to Richmond Kickers and their scoreless draw with Forward Madison last weekend. Despite their scoring problems, Greenville will present a stern challenge for North Texas considering both of the Triumph’s wins so far this season have come at home in Legacy Early College.
Greenville head coach John Harkes has preferred a 4-2-3-1 formation through the first five games of the season. In their last game, wingers Christopher Bermudez and Omar Mohamed pushed centrally leaving the fullbacks to provide width and crosses for striker Jake Keegan up top. Crossing has been a hallmark of Greenville’s attack so far, with the team averaging 16.4 open-play crosses per game to North Texas’ 8.7. Greenville’s propensity to attack with crosses from fullbacks will place a lot of responsibility on North Texas’ center-back pairing. Captain Brecc Evans and FC Dallas’ Callum Montgomery have anchored North Texas’ defense in every game so far, so it will likely be up to them to dominate the air within their own penalty box to stop Greenville’s main source of offense.
Players to Watch
North Texas center-back Brecc Evans is the player to watch for the away side in this game. As the captain of a young team traveling into a hostile environment for the first time, Evans’ leadership and organizational abilities will be put to the test on Saturday. Similarly, Greenville’s crossing style will place extra responsibility on Evans to be a physically dominate presence in the air throughout the match.
Striker Jake Keegan is Greenville’s player to watch for Saturday. The 5-foot-11-inch forward has scored two of Greenville’s three goals so far. He’s also taken 19 shots, over twice the amount of his next closest teammate, Paul Clowes, with seven. As we know, Greenville likes to cross the ball and Keegan is the likeliest candidate to turn those crosses goalward. His presence will provide a physical test for North Texas’ defense, and winner of that battle could ultimately decide the match.