Cary, NC – With a win over Nashville SC this past weekend, North Carolina FC has risen in the United Soccer League (USL) standings, securing their place in the top five.
Fast Offense, Strong Defense
North Carolina FC took on the notoriously offense-heavy Nashville SC on Saturday, June 29, 2019 at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park, but were able to not only block Nashville’s attack but scored early in the game.
DJ Taylor came very close to scoring for NCFC in the fourth minute and Nashville goalkeeper Connor Sparrow blocked the shot by only his fingertips. Sparrow blocked another close shot, a header from Sam Brotherton, in the 30th minute of gameplay.
Throughout the game, Ben Speas was playing an energetic game in the midfield and after Brotherton’s unsuccessful header, Speas started on the attack, passing the ball to Aaron Guillen. But it was Guillen’s role here to set Speas up for a shot and after passing the ball right back, Speas hit it into the right corner, giving NCFC a one point lead in the first half of the game.
For the rest of the game, NCFC played more defensively and prevented Nashville from scoring. Nashville’s Daniel Rios came close with a free kick in the 83rd minute but Alex Tambakis was able to make the save. And with this strong defense and the early lead, NCFC won the game 1-0.
Rising in the Rankings
NCFC has still not lost on their home field this season and for Head Coach David Sarachan, this win was particularly important.
“It was a really massive result for us,” Sarachan said. “Nashville, I respect. They’re a good team. We’re getting thinner. We had to really dig in today. I thought our first half was outstanding in terms of our defensive posture and also with the ball in our possession.”
During the game, Alex Comsia was injured and had to leave the game, with rookie Caleb Duvernay standing in for Comsia on the NCFC side.
With Saturday’s win, NCFC is now ranked fourth in the USL’s Eastern Conference, with eight wins, six draws and two losses.
Their next home game is Thursday, July 4, 2019 against the Charlotte Independence.
Story by staff reports. Photos by Rob Kinnan.