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 North Carolina FC

Draw with Birmingham Leaves North Carolina Wanting More

by Fran Stuchbury
April 15, 2024 - United Soccer League Championship (USL)
North Carolina FC

North Carolina FC takes on Birmingham Legion FC
North Carolina FC takes on Birmingham Legion FC
(North Carolina FC, Credit: Fran Stuchbury)

North Carolina FC played to a 1-1 draw against Birmingham Legion FC in front of 1,807 fans at WakeMed Soccer Park Saturday evening.

It was John Bradford's 100th game as North Carolina FC head coach after he was named to the position to start the 2021 season. Garrett McLaughlin made his 100th USL regular season appearance, coming off the bench in the 71st minute for Rodrigo da Costa.

With the tie North Carolina is now 3-3-1 in all-time meetings against Birmingham.

"It was awful," said North Carolina FC Head Coach John Bradford. "I thought our performance lacked intensity, lacked fight, and we accepted it for large parts, especially the first half. From an overall effort, it's unacceptable. In the second half we tried to get ourselves a little bit more established within the game, but this is our worst performance of the year so far."

North Carolina FC opened the scoring in the second minute with a penalty kick from midfielder Rodrigo Da Costa.

"It feels good, but I wish it was with the three points. It would be much better," said da Costa. "Definitely it was not our best game today from everybody, and especially from me."

da Costa, who hails from Brazil, played with USL Championship side FC Tulsa from 2019 until 2023 where he was the team's all-time leading goal scorer. He was traded to Memphis 901 FC on May 22, 2023 before signing with North Carolina FC on December 7, 2023.

Birmingham evened the score in the 23rd minute on a goal by midfielder Enzo Martinez. Martinez joined Legion FC on January 7, 2022 after six seasons and 161 appearances with USL Championship's Charlotte Independence.

Legion FC has been playing in USL Championship since the 2019 season under Head Coach Tom Soehn, former coach for Major League Soccer's D.C United from 2006 until 2009 as well as an interim head coach with Vancouver Whitecaps in 2011 and the New England Revolution in 2017.

North Carolina FC's next home game is Wednesday at 7 pm est against Carolina Core FC in the third round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.

Images from this story

North Carolina FC takes on Birmingham Legion FC
North Carolina FC takes on Birmingham Legion FC

(Fran Stuchbury)

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