NCFC Extends Unbeaten Run in League Play with Road Draw at Saint Louis FC
Fenton, Mo. - North Carolina FC extended its unbeaten run in USL Championship play to six matches with a 2-2 draw Saturday night against Saint Louis FC at WWT Soccer Park.
Forward Donovan Ewolo and midfielder Steven Miller each scored goals for NCFC, as head coach Dave Sarachan's team earned a valuable point away from home at one of the toughest places to play in the USL Championship. Entering Saturday's match, Saint Louis held a 3W-1L-1D record at home.
With the result, NCFC improved to 7W-2L-6D (27 points) and remained in fifth place in the Eastern Conference standings.
In a battle between two of the league's toughest defenses, neither side could get much going during the game's opening stages, but that changed in the 32nd minute. Out on the left flank, Miller played in a cross that Ewolo tracked down and headed to the far post, leaving Saint Louis goalkeeper Tomas Gomez helpless and giving NCFC the game's first goal.
After holding the hosts to just one shot on target in the first half, NCFC took a 1-0 advantage into halftime. Out of the break, Saint Louis pulled even in the 47th minute on a goal by Albert Dikwa.
Unaffected by the new scoreline, NCFC immediately pushed hard for another go-ahead goal. In the 58th minute, the Miller-to-Ewolo connection nearly paid off again, as Miller's service led to Ewolo forcing Saint Louis's Gomez into an uncomfortable save.
Eventually, NCFC regained the lead in the 81st minute, courtesy of Miller. After a pass from left back Caleb Duvernay, Miller let loose on a shot that took a deflection before finding the back of the net.
In the 88th minute, NCFC's Ewolo went down with an injury but play continued as Saint Louis earned a penalty kick. Saint Louis' Sam Fink scored from the penalty spot in the 91st minute, as the hosts made it a 2-2 game.
Neither side could find a decisive goal from that point on, as NCFC secured a road draw.
Fact to Know
Miller's performance Saturday marked the second time this season he's recorded both a goal and an assist in a match.
- Steven Miller now leads NCFC with four assists this season. Miller's five goals are second only to Marios Lomis' six.
- Donovan Ewolo scored his second goal of the season, his first since NCFC's season-opening win against Louisville City FC on March 9.
- Rookie defender Caleb Duvernay recorded his first USL Championship point with his second-half assist.
- NCFC rookie midfielder Austin Panchot, a St. Louis native, appeared as a substitute. Midfielders Victor Igbekoyi and Graham Smith also appeared as second-half substitutes.
- NCFC's youth-to-pro pipeline was on full display as NCFC Academy alumni DJ Taylor, Caleb Duvernay and Dre Fortune started alongside former NCFC U-23 standouts Nazmi Albadawi and Alex Comsia.
- With the result, NCFC has 15 road points this season (4W-2L-3D).
NCFC returns to Sahlen's Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park to face Nashville SC on Saturday, June 29, at 7 p.m. NCFC is unbeaten at home this season, going 3W-0L-3D. Last season, NCFC earned a 3-3 draw against Nashville the last time the two teams played in Cary.
STL (4-4-2): Tomas Gomez; Bradley Kamden Fewo, Phanuel Kavita, Sam Fink ©, Matt Bahner; Russell Cicerone, Paris Gee (Kadeem Dacres, 46'), Guy Abend, Lewis Hilton; Caleb Calvert (Albert Dikwa, 46'), Kyle Greig (Austin Martz, 78')
Subs not used: Sean Reynolds, Jake Fenlason
NCFC (4-2-3-1): Alex Tambakis; Caleb Duvernay, Aaron Guillen, Alex Comsia, DJ Taylor; Nazmi Albadawi (Graham Smith, 65'), Dre Fortune (Victor Igbekoyi, 85'); Steven Miller ©, Ben Speas, Yamikani Chester; Donovan Ewolo (Austin Panchot, 90')
Subs not used: Darrin MacLeod, Timmy Mehl, Sam Brotherton, Duval Wapiwo
STL: Albert Dikwa (Guy Abend, 47'), Sam Fink (penalty, 90+1')
NCFC: Donovan Ewolo (Steven Miller, 32'), Steven Miller (Caleb Duvernay, 81')
STL: Russell Cicerone 62'
NCFC: Dre Fortune 46'
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