Cary, NC – North Carolina FC had not lost a home game this entire season, until they came up against one of the other top-ranked teams in the conference, Indy Eleven, this past weekend.
First Loss at Home
North Carolina FC took on Indy Eleven at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park on Saturday, August 3, 2019. With NCFC ranked fourth in the conference and Indy ranked third, plus NCFC never losing a home game this season, the drama was high for this match.
And the drama came quickly as Indy midfielder Matt Watson hit a long distance shot and got a goal off of it, giving the away team a 1-0 lead in the 15th minute.
To try and turn it around, NCFC started a more aggressively play style, best exemplified Yamikani Chester got in close to Indy’s goal, forcing a very physical diving save from Indy goalkeeper Evan Newton. But the team was not able to get another goal before halftime.
In the second half, NCFC had the majority of ball control, outshooting Indy by more than double. In the 69th minute, Dre Fortune turned things around when he got the pass from Aaron Guillen and hit a curling shot, making a goal from the top corner.
But in the final minutes of the match, Ilija Ilic got a pass from Tyler Gibson and scored, giving Indy a 2-1 lead. In the time remaining, NCFC was not able to make up the difference and they took their first home loss, with six wins, four draws and now one loss.
As NCFC Head Coach Dave Sarachan said after the game, NCFC’s best chances were in the second half.
“We created enough chances,” Sarachan said. “We get the goal, and I think we could have had one or two more to be fair. I didn’t think they threatened a lot in the second half. And yet, they made a play.”
With this loss, NCFC is now ranked fifth in the USL Eastern Conference.
NCFC’s next home game is Saturday, August 17, 2019 at 7 PM against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC.
Story by staff reports. Photos by Rob Kinnan.