St Louis 2 rules out North Texas behind Roman Burki’s clean sheet

Pa Modou Kah’s men were shut out for the first time this season as strong defending and fine goalkeeping by Roman Burki, along with a penalty and a long-range effort, saw the incoming MLS expansion to defeat North Texas SC 2-0.

The game

Hope Aveyevu returned to the XI after being suspended for a red card, with last week’s goalscorer Tomas Lacerda in midfield. After a brace last week, Jose Mulato started as the sole striker, with Blake Pope and Bernard Kamungo on either side.

This game was also incredibly notable as former Borussia Dortmund and Switzerland goalkeeper Roman Burki started in the net for St. Louis tonight.

Last week’s starlet Collin Smith split a triple-team with a bit of nifty dribbling and earned a corner for North Texas as their first real attack came in the 17th minute.

As the game came to a halt for a hydration break, NTXSC had yet to register a shot on Burki’s net, but Antonio Carrera on the other side hadn’t let anything slip, making a handful of saves.

After 34 minutes, North Texas got their first shot of the match, as Blake Pope pressed hard on the opposition midfielder and took the ball away for a shot from outside the box, forcing Roman Burki to make his first MLS NEXT Pro stop.

Alejandro Urzua, an U17 player, was the first player in the game to enter the referee’s book, as he was given a yellow for stopping a St Louis counterattack.

Despite a brilliant save by Carrera which the home team denied, a penalty was awarded for a foul in the box and then scored to put North Texas on goal.

Coach Kah made a half-time substitution, waiving the Urzua yellow card for Andre Costa.

North Texas got off to an early start, eight minutes into the restart. A big dribble from St Louis sat a defender but the post prevented the home side from doubling their lead.

Minutes later the favor was returned by the carpentry on the other side as Blake Pope fired a shot that left the keeper alone able to watch but the post denied the youngster.

Former Sporting Kansas City Homegrown midfielder Wan Kuzain doubled the home side’s advantage with a blast from outside the box and past Carrera.

Another well-worked attack was saved by Carrera, who had been put out overnight, despite a penalty and a burst of top bins from range.

A late yellow card will prevent Collin Smith from playing next week’s game against Colorado Rapids 2.

Bernard Kamungo missed a chance at the death, which sealed North Texas’ 2-0 loss to St Louis, which was the first time North Texas was shut out in 2022.

Thoughts and Takeaways

Coach Kah remarked after the match: “I thought [Lacerda] was fantastic…” and regarding the first-time shutout he said “We had several chances, I would have been worried if we hadn’t done it, the ball just didn’t drop”

Blake Pope stood out in the North Texas offense, recording the game’s best two shots for the opposing team. Coach Kah said of the quality of the young midfielder “We know what [Pope] can own this [quality]he’s a versatile player and we saw that at the end when he was playing left-back at the end.”

Collin Smith had another good game but his yellow card means it will be a few weeks before we see him again in the XI.

St Louis is the best defensive team in the league, and when paired with quality goalie, a hit and a last-minute miss, North Texas was unable to crack the home team. .

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