Contact: Matt Smith
TEXAS UNITED HOSTED TIGRES PREMIER IN A FRIENDLY ON MAY 27TH
Grand Prairie, TX – On May 27th, the Texas United players and coaching staff got the experience of a lifetime. On this day, the Grand Prairie-based team faced Tigres Premier, an established team that plays throughout the ranks of the Mexican soccer league. Although the local team fell to their opponents, the experience was unlike any other.
After a hard-fought match, head coach Arez Ardalani had nothing but praise for his players. “My players are used to playing these high profile games, you can tell by just how comfortable they looked on the field” said Ardalani. And this was true. For the majority of the match, the Texas United players excelled on the ball, passing crisply and maintaining possession. Despite the loss, coach Ardalani remained positive. “Tigres are a very good club with a winning culture, and we wanted to put the guys in an environment where we see which 11 wants it more. Unfortunately, we made 2 errors that led to the goals, but we could have slipped in the win” explained Ardalani.
Undoubtedly so, the players were excited to face a team like Tigres. Starting defender Matthew Constant shared his thoughts on the experience. “When you hear you’re going to be playing Tigres, you only get excited,” explained Constant. Describing his feelings after match, he said “It’s a tough game, but it’s a good learning experience, you know?” Constant was able to identify a takeaway from the match that could help team with the remainder of the PDL season. “Their ability to play out of almost anything is a big thing that we and every American team can learn from. It’s a trait that not a lot of have.” As a closing remark on the friendly, Constant said, “It’s a fun experience, we just have to keep moving forward.”
Hunter Harrison, the starting goalie for the friendly, said “You just have to take it as an experience and learn from their type of style. You have to take things that you see and try and go on with the rest of the season.” Like Constant, Harrison was able to look at this opportunity and pick apart certain aspects that will help improve the team’s performance going forward. “One of the things we could take from them is probably doing more pressing. This could be a key for what we need to do to succeed.”
Caleb Smith, a substitute for the friendly, did not take the experience for granted. “It’s always a good experience when you can play against international competition with one of the best youth teams in the world. They always produce great players, so to compete with them on the field is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Smith. Noah Hilt, a starting midfielder for the match, said “It’s a good test, you know? To test yourself against a different style of opponents. How they play with the ball, how they move with the ball, it’s good to see where we are. We have a lot to learn.” Ivan Alvarado, another starting midfielder, had this to say. “The competition is good, and I feel like we did well.”
Despite the defeat, the friendly against Tigres provided an opportunity to evaluate the team from a unique perspective. Ardalani and the players were able to identify strengths and weaknesses that will help the Texas United team compete at an even higher level moving forward throughout the PDL season. The team remains unbeaten throughout the first three games of the season and lead the Mid-South division. With two games coming up against Houston FC and a rematch against Corpus Christi FC at home, the coaching staff and players hope to continue their successful season.