FRISCO – It was an offensive breakthrough for North Texas SC on Saturday as they came from behind to beat Orlando City B 4-1. Although in first place going into the weekend, Eric Quill’s men had won all four of their previous games by one-goal margins—including three consecutive 1-0 victories. After falling behind to a William Bagrou strike in the 48th minute, North Texas came roaring back to score four goals in twenty minutes to extend its perfect record to 5-0-0.
Although the day turned out to be a seminal moment for the team offensively, the first 60 or so minutes of the game told a different story. North Texas struggled to create chances and had a few nervy moments at the back with goalkeeper Kyle Zobeck playing his first competitive game for the club. Head coach Eric Quill’s frustrating portion of the afternoon culminated with Orlando’s William Bagrou’s scoring to put North Texas in a losing position for the first time all season. However, the temporary setback spurred North Texas on to its best offensive showing in its history.
“They (Orlando City) got the goal they wanted…and I think we responded really, really well—obviously with four goals—but some of the performances in the second half,” said head coach Eric Quill. “It wasn’t just a couple guys, it was the whole crew collectively became the team that we know they are and they just exploded. The last 35 minutes were the best half of the year.”
While Quill was quick to underline the team’s collective performance, he also highlighted FC Dallas Academy standout Tanner Tessmann who started the goal-fest for North Texas in the 69th minute with his first-ever professional goal: “Tanner became possessed in the last 25 minutes,” Quill said. “He took over the game. Some of his creativity, his feet, his decisions, were just spot on.”
The goal-scorer himself also noted the how he—and the team, moreover—found another gear in the last half-hour of the game following Orlando’s initial breakthrough.
“When we went down that one goal, the guys picked it up a little and we were desperate,” Tessmann said after the match. “So when I scored that first one, the floodgates just opened and we just punished them every time…We got our chances and they just went in there at the end.”
The offensive breakthrough North Texas experienced in the last 20 minutes could be a warning to the rest of USL League One. The team owns the best defensive record in the league with three clean sheets and three goals conceded so far, and with the offense appearing to have finally find its groove, North Texas could prove to be the dominant force in the inaugural season—especially with the return of leading goalscorer Ricardo Pepi on the horizon.
While things could hardly look more promising for the team at the moment, Tessmann provided a level-headed assessment of the team’s current situation and mentality just minutes after the memorable game.
“Obviously we’re proud because we’re undefeated but we’re just looking ahead for the next game. We’re proud of what we’ve done, but at the end of the day we haven’t won anything—and we want to win a championship—and we’ve got to take it one step at a time so we're just focusing on next week.”