ARLINGTON, Texas - Union Omaha fell behind twice to North Texas SC, but equalized on both occasions to earn a 2-2 draw in which both teams played the majority of the second half with 10 men on Sunday night at Globe Life Park.
It took just over a minute for North Texas to get on the board, and to do so spectacularly. A ball into the box was cleared by Union Omaha only as far as Edwin Cerrillo. Cerrillo lined up a stunning strike from distance, which rocketed well beyond the reach of Omaha goalkeeper Rashid Nuhu and into the far side of the goal.
After the opener, North Texas enjoyed the majority of the possession, although Omaha were able to test Luis Zamudio in the North Texas net on a couple of occasions. 2019 League One Golden Boot winner Ronaldo Damus nearly doubled North Texas' advantage at the other end moments before halftime, but his toe-poke trickled wide.
Tempers flared five minutes after the break, when Damus tried to kick the ball out of Nuhu's hands. Nuhu reacted by hitting Damus in the back of the head, and both players were shown a red card by the referee.
The two teams continued to battle 10 vs. 10 for more than 40 minutes of the second half, and the extra space left by the reduced numbers created a highly-entertaining and open contest. Three goals were scored in a nine-minute span, as Omaha equalized twice.
JP Scearce got the Owls' first, powering in a header from Ethan Vanacore-Decker's corner kick. After North Texas' Gibran Rayo polished off a slick counter attack to restore the lead, Omaha showed its resilience by leveling the score again. This time, Vanacore-Decker got the goal himself, finishing cleverly with a quick shot after Sebastian Contreras knocked down a cross in his direction.
The match finished 2-2 and continued a trend of both scoring and allowing late goals for North Texas SC. The Texans have scored and conceded in the last 15 minutes in each of their last three home games, all of which have ended in draws.
North Texas' high-powered attack has scored more goals than any other team in League One, and is keeping them from losing games. But the draws are piling up, and Head Coach Eric Quill will be searching for ways to solidify the team's leaky defense, which has allowed the most goals in the league.
The draw was enough to lift Union Omaha back above Forward Madison and into third place, just one point behind second-place Richmond Kickers in the all-important race for the top two.
Though they weren't able to win, the Owls and their Head Coach Jay Mims will be pleased with their ability to fight back on two separate occasions to earn what could be a valuable point come the end of the season.
North Texas heads to Wisconsin next weekend for this season's second installment of its "El Plástico" rivalry with Forward Madison, while Union Omaha will host FC Tucson.
North Texas SC: August 30 v. Forward Madison FC (A)
Union Omaha: August 29 v. FC Tucson (H)