Early Goals Lead NCFC to 2-0 Win over Swope Park Rangers
Cary, N.C. - North Carolina FC continued its good form by defeating Swope Park Rangers 2-0 at Sahlen's Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park. The match was part one of North Carolina Football Club's Pride Night Doubleheader, which continued with the North Carolina Courage's game against Portland Thorns FC.
With the win, NCFC is now 3W-0L-2D in its last five league matches.
Forward Yamikani Chester and midfielder Dre Fortune each scored goals in the victory, as NCFC struck twice within the opening 13 minutes to improve to 7W-2L-5D (26 points) on the season.
"The result was important. These are tricky games because if you pay too much attention to the standings and you let your foot off the gas pedal, you can get punished," NCFC head coach Dave Sarachan said. "Getting the early goal was important today and then obviously we got the second."
The match was NCFC's first league game at Sahlen's Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park in one month, and Sarachan's team did not wait long to give the home fans something to cheer about.
In the sixth minute, Chester was played in on goal on a pass by forward Robert Kristo. Left with only Swope Park Rangers goalkeeper Eric Dick to deal with, Chester calmly slotted his shot into the left corner of the net for his second USL Championship goal of the season.
Not content with only one goal, NCFC struck again in the 13th minute, as Fortune continued his hot streak. After intercepting a pass in the midfield, the 22-year-old Raleigh native made a run toward goal. With room to operate, Fortune let loose on a shot at the edge of the 18-yard-box that curled past the Rangers goalkeeper.
After taking a two-goal lead into halftime, NCFC continued to pressure the Rangers in the second half. In the 52nd minute, Kristo came within inches of netting, but saw his pace-filled effort hit the crossbar.
Later on in the second half, Kristo was replaced by forward Donovan Ewolo, who was denied twice from point-blank range in the 80th minute.
While NCFC never could add a third goal, it remained firm defensively, recording its fifth shutout of the season.
Fact To Know
With the win, NCFC has now earned back-to-back victories for the third time this season, a feat it achieved just twice in 2018.
- Midfielder Yamikani Chester now has two goals in his last two USL Championship appearances. The Malawian scored as a second-half substitute in NCFC's 1-1 draw at Hartford Athletic on June 1.
- Forward Robert Kristo recorded his first assist of the season.
- NCFC goalkeeper Darrin MacLeod made his second USL Championship start of the season and recorded his first clean sheet in league action since joining the club.
- Midfielder Dre Fortune has now scored four goals in his last seven games across all competitions. Fortune was named the USL Championship Player of the Week last Tuesday following his two-goal performance in NCFC's 3-1 win at Tampa Bay on June 8.
- NCFC improved to 3W-0L-3D at home this season.
- NCFC's youth-to-pro pipeline was on full display Saturday, as NCFC Academy products Dre Fortune, DJ Taylor and Caleb Duvernay all started alongside former NCFC U23 standouts Nazmi Albadawi and Alex Comsia. Academy standout Manny Perez was not available for selection due to a minor injury.
NCFC hits the road for its first-ever matchup with Saint Louis FC on Saturday, June 22, at 8:30 p.m. NCFC is 4W-2L-2D in road matches this season.
The team returns to Sahlen's Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park on Saturday, June 29, at 7 p.m. for a battle with Nashville SC. For tickets and information please visit NorthCarolinaFC.com or call the Coastal Credit Union Box Office at 919-459-8144.
NCFC (4-2-3-1): Darrin MacLeod; Caleb Duvernay, Aaron Guillen, Alex Comsia, DJ Taylor; Nazmi Albadawi, Victor Igbekoyi; Ben Speas ©, Dre Fortune (Austin Panchot, 87'), Yamikani Chester (Steven Miller, 71'); Robert Kristo (Donovan Ewolo, 67')
Subs not used: Alex Tambakis, Tim Mehl, Duval Wapiwo, Graham Smith,
SPR (4-4-2): Eric Dick; Mark Segbers, Camden Riley, Graham Smith ©, Alexsander; Kuzain (Tyler Freeman, 71'), Gianluca Busio, Felipe Hernandez, Ayyoub Allach; Ethan Vanacore-Decker (Wilson Harris, 78'), Killian Colombe (Jerome Ngom Bekeli, 58')
Subs not used: John Pulskamp, Rassambek Akhmatov, Will Little, Kaveh Rad
NCFC: Yamikani Chester (Robert Kristo, 6'), Dre Fortune (Unassisted,13')
NCFC: Yamikani Chester 28', Aaron Guillen 50'
SPR: Alexsander 63'
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