FRISCO— Second place North Texas SC welcomes seventh place Forward Madison FC to Toyota Stadium for the second time this season on Wednesday at 7 PM. In their first meeting in Frisco, North Texas SC ran out 1-0 winners over Madison thanks to a stoppage time penalty from USL League One leading goal-scorer Ricardo Pepi.
North Texas dropped its first points of the season on Saturday with a 2-2 draw away to Lansing Ignite FC in Cooley Law School Stadium. While North Texas started and ended the game brightly, Eric Quill’s team had to endure long stretches of Lansing pressure and goalkeeper Carlos Avilez was called into action often and kept his team in the game with a number of crucial saves. Despite the difficulties, North Texas rallied late in the game with two eye-catching goals from Ricardo Pepi and Arturo Rodriguez to take a point on the road.
Since its last meeting with North Texas, Forward Madison had been on a four-game unbeaten run until Saturday when it welcomed current league leaders Tormenta FC to Breese Stevens Field. Despite having a majority of possession and more shots on goal, Madison was unable to capitalize on its chances and lost 1-0 to a Connor Antley goal in the 50th minute. Despite sitting in 7th place in the standings, Madison’s good form prior to the loss—and the control it showed against Tormenta—means it will be a tough opponent for Eric Quill and North Texas.
Players to Watch
With his anticipated return from international duty, Ricardo Pepi is undoubtedly the player to watch for North Texas against Madison. Not only did he score the game-winning penalty in the previous matchup between the clubs, but Pepi announced his return to USL League One play in typical fashion on Saturday with a sensation curling freekick to spark North Texas’ dramatic comeback against Lansing Ignite. His combination of clever holdup play and lethal finishing means Pepi is the standout player to watch on Wednesday night.
Forward Madison’s player to watch is midfielder Josiel Nunez. While he lines up in midfield, Nunez typically plays as the second most advanced player just behind striker Mason Toye, making Nunez a crucial contributor to Daryl Shore’s attack. With two goals, Nunez leads Madison in scoring and also is the team’s most creative player with 10 chances created in his seven appearances. The Panamanian midfielder is never afraid to have a sight of goal as he also leads Madison with 15 total shots this season. Nunez’s creative playmaking and goal-scoring abilities make him the player to watch for the visitors on Wednesday.