PAPILLION, Neb. – Union Omaha let another lead slip, this time to a North Texas squad that earned its first point on the road this season.
Both goals came off trademark displays of pace, with Greg Hurst’s score for the Owls being matched by Bernard Kamungo’s point-blank rocket. In a start-stop match characterized by short bursts of action, those two were the best chances for each side, and the only ones converted.
Head Coach Jay Mims saw a lot of positives from the result, however.
“We did a lot of things well tonight. I was really pleased with the way we defended, the way we held possession, and the way we controlled most of the game.”
The match started slowly, with no shots for either team until 13 minutes in, but that one shot burst the dam for a flurry of activity in the next ten minutes, from crosses nearly finding the net to pinball sequences in front of the goal. Emphasis was put on attacking via the flanks, with North Texas especially making their presence felt through an outside-in mentality.
It was the heart of the pitch that granted Los Búhos the opener, though. Conor Doyle dinked a ball over the top from the center circle, releasing Greg Hurst down the middle. He took a single touch with his chest to set himself up, putting the onus on North Texas’ keeper to come off his line. Hurst produced a chip into the far corner that oozed class to give Omaha the lead.
That goal was the epitome of Union Omaha this season. For the 11th time in 14 matches Omaha scored the opener, while 16 of their 20 goals have been assisted. The fashion in which it was created, a direct attack converted with quality, also reflects their play so far in 2021.
While the action for the most part tempered itself again through the first 45 minutes, the halftime substitution of Bernard Kamungo gave North Texas extra pace that proved deadly within minutes. Kazu slid the 19 year-old through on the left flank, giving him plenty of room to carve out a way to threaten Omaha’s goal. While Kamungo nearly bungled it after cutting diagonally into the box, he created just enough space from his marker to blast a left-footed shot past Rashid Nuhu to even the score.
Kamungo would consistently pester the Owls throughout the second half, with that goal being the clearest return on a slew of threats that were often only saved by the offside flag.
Despite some chances on both sides, though, including a pair of corners that ended up requiring Richard Sanchez to sprawl for saves, neither team could break the deadlock. For North Texas, that breaks a 0-4-0 record on the road coming into this match. For Union Omaha, it’s their third straight 1-1 draw at home. In all three, they went ahead to start before settling for one point rather than three.
“Disappointed we didn’t win,” was how Coach Mims felt by the end. “Every time you’re up a goal, especially at home, you want to get three points. That leaves you a bitter taste when you give up the lead, but we almost got it back several times at the end. Our guys never stopped fighting and never stopped working, and that’s what you want to see.”
Omaha can take solace in the fact that, along with Greenville Triumph’s draw yesterday, Chattanooga could also only muster a 1-1 draw tonight. These results keep the status quo in the standings, and keep the Owls atop the table even despite these points dropped.
Union Omaha will remain here next week, welcoming Forward Madison back to Werner Park with eyes on a better result than the draw they netted just weeks ago. That fixture will take place on Saturday, August 7, also at 7 PM CDT. It will be E-sports Night for that match, with local non-profit Prairie STEM hosting a table display and Local Legends providing a gaming truck featuring games like Rocket League and FIFA.
Union Omaha vs North Texas SC
Werner Park (Papillion, NE)
Goals by Half 1 2 F
Union Omaha 1 0 1
North Texas SC 0 1 1
OMA: Greg Hurst 20’
NTX: Bernard Kamungo 49’
OMA: Jacob Crull (Yellow Card) 65’, Devin Boyce (Yellow Card) 79’
NTX: Derek Waldeck (Yellow Card) 51’, Jorge Almaguer (Yellow Card) 63’, Kazu (Yellow Card) 66’
Shots (on goal): OMA: 16 (3); NTX: 9 (4)
Saves: OMA: Rashid Nuhu – 3; NTX: Richard Sánchez – 2
Possession: OMA 48.0% – NTX 52.0%
Fouls: OMA 10; NTX 9
Corner Kicks: OMA 3; NTX 3
OMA: GK, Nuhu; D, Viader; D, Knutson; D, Crull; D, Sousa; M, Otieno (Alihodžić 72’); M, Scearce; M, Doyle; M, Firmino (N’For 72’); F, Boyce (Murphy 82’); F, Hurst
NTX: GK, Sánchez; D, Maldonado; D, Gomes; D, Ramirez; D, Waldeck; M, Almaguer; M, Ferri (Avayevu 90+2’); M, Jacquel (Kamungo 45’); F, Hernandez (Alisson 89’); F, Rayo (Smith 88’); F, Kazu (Bruce 69’)
All game stats are unofficial.