Cary, NC – In the final minutes of their latest home game, North Carolina FC came back from a point deficit and only 10 players on the field to tie up and continue their undefeated streak this season.
Penalties and Fouls
At the Saturday, April 6, 2019 match against Memphis 901 FC at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park, North Carolina FC played a grueling match that saw both teams closely match in the first half. NCFC is a fast team that often gets twice as many attempts on goal as their opponents. But Memphis is a strongly defensive team and seemed to let NCFC play into their hands for the first 45 minutes, wearing down the home team while protecting their own goal.
Whether or not this was the actual strategy, Memphis still got the advantage first with a goal in the last third of the game. They opened up their attacking and got fouled by NCFC’s Austin da Luz within the 18-yard box. da Luz got a red card and Memphis Captain Marc Burch took the penalty kick, raising the score to 0-1 for the away team.
Now, Memphis not only had the point lead but NCFC was only playing with 10 men and there was not much time left in the game. But just like how the earlier foul got Memphis their lead, NCFC capitalized on another player mistake. A handball call gave NCFC a free kick in the 78th minute and Marios Lomis used it to hit a big, bending trick shot that faked out Memphis goalkeeper Jeff Caldwell and tied the game up 1-1.
For the rest of the play time, Memphis played a much more aggressive game and in the very final moments, it looked like they might squeak out the win but NCFC goalkeeper Alex Tambakis caught the ball, ending the game with a draw.
With this draw, not only is NCFC still undefeated this season but they are the third-ranked team in the USL Eastern Conference.
“Tonight, we got a good taste of what this group is about in terms of competing,” said North Carolina FC Head Coach Dave Sarachan. “Marios hit a great free kick. Alex Tambakis played terrific tonight and saved us big time. On both ends of the field you need somebody that can save balls and guys that can create something. At the end of the day, we take the point.”
This goal was Lomis’ third goal of the season, making him the current team leader.
The next home game is not until Saturday, April 27, 2019 against Hartford Athletic at 7 PM.
Story by staff reports. Photos by Rob Kinnan.