Albadawi's Late Strike Leads NCFC to 2-1 Win in Memphis
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (Aug. 10, 2019) - A late strike by Nazmi Albadawi in the 88th minute led North Carolina FC to a 2-1 win on the road at Memphis 901 FC Saturday night at AutoZone Park.
With the win, NCFC (11W-5L-7D, 40 points) maintained its position in fifth place in the USL Championship Eastern Conference and picked up its sixth road win of the season.
After Memphis' Brandon Allen opened up the scoring with a 20th-minute goal, NCFC began to settle into the match. Head coach Dave Sarachan's team began knocking on the door, as midfielder Graham Smith saw his deflected effort bounce off the crossbar in the 31st minute.
Right before the halftime whistle blew, NCFC got on even terms with Donovan Ewolo's fifth goal of the season, which came on a bicycle kick one minute into first-half stoppage time, as Memphis goalkeeper Jeff Caldwell struggled to handle the shot.
Solid defense and good goalkeeping by Alex Tambakis (four saves) kept the hosts frustrated offensively for much of the night after their initially positive start, and NCFC began to push forward in the game's final stage.
That persistence paid off once Ewolo made a threatening run toward the 18-yard box from the right flank before laying off to midfielder Ben Speas, who set Albadawi up for the game-winning goal, a wonder strike from well beyond the area that whizzed into the left corner of the net. The goal was the first of the homegrown Albadawi's second stint with NCFC, having joined from FC Cincinnati on loan in May.
In possession of a late lead, NCFC remained poised and saw out the result, protecting its advantage throughout six minutes of stoppage time.
Fact to Know
Saturday's victory marked the first time NCFC won after conceding the game's opening goal.
- NCFC improved to 5W-4L-3D on the road.
- NCFC remained unbeaten when coming off a loss (6W-0L-0D) between USL Championship and U.S. Open Cup play.
- Donovan Ewolo is now third on the team with five goals on the season.
- NCFC's youth-to-pro pipeline was on full display Saturday, as NCFC Academy products DJ Taylor and Dre Fortune were named in the starting lineup, as were former NCFC U23 standouts Nazmi Albadawi and Alex Comsia. Caleb Duvernay, who played for both the NCFC Academy and NCFC U23 program, was named to the bench.
- Alex Comsia returned from injury, playing for the first time since June 29. The UNC product also recorded an assist in the win.
- Ben Speas dished out his fifth assist of the year, tied for the most on the team.
- Steven Miller, Justin Rennicks and Austin da Luz each appeared as second-half substitutes.
- Aaron Guillen captained NCFC for the second straight game.
NCFC returns home to host Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC at Sahlen's Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park on Saturday, Aug. 17, at 7:00 p.m. The first 1,800 fans to enter the stadium will receive a free NCFC T-shirt courtesy of Circle K, a proud corporate sponsor of North Carolina Football Club. Teen Cancer America ambassadors and former Atlantic Coast Conference basketball stars Brice Johnson and Nolan Smith will also attend the match to promote their upcoming Hoop-a-Thons on Aug. 24 and 25 in Chapel Hill and Durham, respectively. For tickets and information please visit www.NorthCarolinaFC.com or call the Coastal Credit Union Box Office at 919-459-8144.
MEM (4-4-2): Jeff Caldwell; Abdi Mohamed (Lagos Kunga, 71'), Marc Burch ©, Liam Doyle, Wes Charpie; Adam Najem, Dan Metzger, Pierre Da Silva (Jochen Graf, 90'), Leston Paul (Ewan Grandison, 62'); Marcus Epps, Brandon Allen
Subs not used: Morgan Hackworth, Scott Levene, Todd Pratzner, Luca Uccello
NCFC (4-2-3-1): Alex Tambakis; Aaron Guillen ©, Sam Brotherton, Alex Comsia, DJ Taylor; Nazmi Albadawi, Graham Smith; Yamikani Chester (Steven Miller, 66'), Dre Fortune (Justin Rennicks, 71'), Ben Speas (Austin da Luz, 89'); Donovan Ewolo
Subs: Darrin MacLeod, Timmy Mehl, Robert Kristo, Caleb Duvernay
MEM: Brandon Allen (Liam Doyle, 20')
NCFC: Donovan Ewolo (Alex Comsia, 45+1'), Nazmi Albadawi (Ben Speas, 88')
MEM: Marc Burch 79', Pierre Da Silva 81'
NCFC: Dre Fortune 28', Alex Comsia 56'
• Discuss this story on the United Soccer League Championship message board...
United Soccer League Championship Stories from August 10, 2019
- Phoenix Rising Keeps Win Streak Rolling with 13th Straight Victory - Phoenix Rising FC
- Real Monarchs SLC Trounces Tulsa Roughnecks FC 4-1 - Real Monarchs SLC
- San Antonio FC Earns Emphatic Road Win; Defeats Reno 1868 FC 4-1 - San Antonio FC
- Switchbacks FC Score Stoppage Time Equalizer to Draw RGV - Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
- Zorros Complete Comeback to Beat Energy FC - Fresno FC
- Roughnecks Lose to Monarchs 1-4 - FC Tulsa
- Steel FC remains undefeated in regular-season play at Nashville - Philadelphia Union II
- STLFC Comes Back to Draw 1-1 against Charleston Battery - Saint Louis FC
- Legion FC Takes Down Eastern Conference Power on the Road - Birmingham Legion FC
- Memphis 901 FC Topped Late by North Carolina FC - Memphis 901 FC
- Finks Penalty Forces 1-1 Draw in St. Louis - Charleston Battery
- Albadawi's Late Strike Leads NCFC to 2-1 Win in Memphis - North Carolina FC
- Switchbacks Equalize Late to Steal a Point at Home against the Toros - Rio Grande Valley FC Toros
- Rowdies Beaten 1-0 by Birmingham - Tampa Bay Rowdies
- Nashville SC Defense Keeps Fifth Consecutive Clean Sheet in Draw against Bethlehem Steel FC - Nashville SC
- Hounds Defeat Swope Park, 3-2 - Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC
- Orange County Falls to Tacoma in Shocking Loss - Orange County SC
- How to Follow: Nashville SC vs. Bethlehem Steel FC - Nashville SC
- Match Preview: #TBRvBHM - Tampa Bay Rowdies
- Hartford Falls to NYRB2 After Controversial Decision Puts the Club Down Two Men - Hartford Athletic
- Nashville SC Looking to Close out Grueling Week with Strong Showing against Bethlehem Steel FC - Nashville SC
- Match Preview: ATL UTD 2 vs Louisville City - Atlanta United 2
The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.
Other Recent North Carolina FC Stories
- North Carolina Football Club Partners with Reed and Feed and NCFC Youth for Food Drive
- North Carolina Football Club to Hold Virtual Ticket 'Pitch-In' Campaign for Bucy Foundation Mini-Pitch Project
- Dahlkemper, Dunn, and Williams Named to 27-Player Roster for First U.S. Women's National Team Training Camp in Seven Months
- North Carolina FC's Youth to Pro Pipeline Comes to Light as Dre Fortune Highlights 2020 NCFC Team Awards as Most Valuable Player
- North Carolina Football Club Forms Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force and Names Task Force Members