0519 North Texas

Week 8 of MLS NEXT Pro action kicks off this Friday with the Game of the Week matchup between Real Monarchs and North Texas SC at Zions Bank Stadium in Herriman, Utah. The kick-off is scheduled for 9 p.m. ET.

How to Watch:

This and every match will be available to stream live and free of charge on MLSNEXTPro.com.

MLS NEXT Pro has teamed up with automated camera technology provider Spiideo to deliver live streams of all MLS NEXT Pro matches, ensuring every game this season will be available for viewing on MLSNEXTPro.com.

The matchup is this week's MLS NEXT Pro Game of the Week, meaning that viewers will experience a multi-camera production for this match.

Last week Real Monarchs (0-5-2, 2 points) suffered their fifth defeat of the season at the hands of Tacoma Defiance. The loss marks the third consecutive defeat for the team from Utah, but it's not all bad news for a team that is still searching for its first MLS NEXT Pro win of the season.

While the final score might say otherwise, Real Monarchs held their own against one of the best teams in the Western Conference. 

After the halftime break, Real Monarchs outshot Defiance, with three of those shots being on target. They also held most of the possession and were on the verge of getting on the board several times. Newcomers Golden Mafwenta and Benjamin Rodriguez made an impact offensively, but both players were denied by the crossbar and excellent goalkeeping, respectively. 

Head Coach Jámison Olave has had to deal with many moving parts, but if he's able to find the right combination, his team can be a dangerous one to face.

Players to Watch:

Pedro Fonseca, Midfielder - The 24-year-old Brazilian is currently in a seven-way tie for third place in the MLS NEXT Pro Golden Boot race with four goals. Against Defiance last week, Fonseca led the team in total shots and created two key chances at goal that nearly put his team on the board. He took good care of the ball, having 90% passing accuracy, the highest between the two squads.

Benjamin Rodriguez

Benjamin Rodriguez, Forward - The 19-year-old Uruguayan forward made his MLS NEXT Pro debut last week, playing the last 30 minutes of the match. The former Defensor Sporting Club player had a chance at goal in the 71st minute, but the Defiance keeper denied his effort.

Golden Mafwenta, Defender - Mafwenta has played the full 90 minutes in his first three matches with Real Monarchs. An aspect of his game that has improved with each game has been his passing. The Zambian defender has improved his total number of passes each game, most notably doubling the number of total passes from the game against CITY2 to the one against Tacoma Defiance, all while improving his accuracy.

Pa-Modou Kah's men ended a three-game winning streak for Whitecaps FC 2 last Saturday with a 1-0 victory at Choctaw Stadium.

Jose Mulato scored the game's lone goal in the 35th minute after stealing the ball near the top of the 18-yard box and launching a no hesitation rocket into the back of the net.

"I would like to score more goals in the season; this is only the beginning," Mulato said of his goal against WCFC2. "I want to be able to accomplish double-digit numbers in my scoring tally. There is still time, and like I said, it's a team effort. We will continue to grow from here."

After earning three points against WCFC2, North Texas SC (5-1-2) sits in second place in the Western Conference with 18 points.

Players to Watch:

Jose Mulato, Forward - With his goal against Whitecaps FC 2, Mulato has now scored twice this season, with both of those goals coming from outside the 18-yard box. The Colombian has been steadily improving all season and is adding another dimension to North Texas SC's already deadly attack.

North Texas celebration

Bernard Kamungo, Forward - Kamungo was one of the nominees for MLS NEXT Pro Player of the Month for April, and for a good reason. He started the season scoring three goals in his first four games and helped North Texas SC climb to the top of the Western Conference. The Tanzanian has cooled down a bit since then, only scoring once in May, but as long as he's on the field, he'll be a threat to score.

Hope Avayevu, Forward - The MLS NEXT Pro assist leader with five this season, Avayevu has been the engine that keeps North Texas SC running offensively. The Ghanaian also does a masterful job tackling, racking up 16 this season to lead his team and good enough for second place in MLS NEXT Pro.