North Carolina FC Earns 3-3 Home Draw against Bethlehem Steel FC
CARY, N.C. - Led by a strong performance from forward Robbie Kristo, North Carolina FC earned a 3-3 home draw against Bethlehem Steel FC Saturday night at Sahlen's Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park.
With the result, NCFC is unbeaten in its last three home matches and is now 13W-7L-8D (47 points), good for sixth place in the USL Championship Eastern Conference.
Kristo, making his fifth start of the season, scored twice in the draw, bringing his total on the season to six.
It was a positive start for NCFC, as captain Austin da Luz opened the scoring in the ninth minute with his second goal of the year. After the official said to play on following a handball on Bethlehem, da Luz curled a shot from the edge of the 18-yard box past goalkeeper Todd Morton.
Eleven minutes later, NCFC's advantage doubled when Kristo skied high and headed home midfielder Graham Smith's free kick, making it 2-0 in the 20th minute.
Right before the halftime whistle blew, Bethlehem got on the board via a goal by Yomi Scintu in the 45th minute, but NCFC still took a 2-1 lead into the break.
Not long after the restart, NCFC's two-goal lead was restored through Kristo, who secured his first brace of the season with a chip of Bethlehem's Morton in the 47th minute.
The visitors made it a 3-2 game thanks to a tally by their captain, James Chambers, in the 60th minute.
With Kristo still causing problems, the 6'4" target man was denied a hat trick by the woodwork in the 62nd minute, as his header from a corner kick came tantalizingly close to finding the back of the net.
Against the run of play, Bethlehem pulled even in the 84th minute on a score by substitute Shanyder Borgelin.
Despite a late push by NCFC that included an effort from right back DJ Taylor in stoppage time, the game featured no more goals and the two teams split the points.
- NCFC captain Austin da Luz scored his first goal since April 20.
- Forward Robbie Kristo earned his first brace of the season and now has six goals on the year. Kristo is one of five NCFC players with six-plus goals in 2019.
- NCFC is now 8W-1L-5D at home this season.
- NCFC's youth-to-pro pipeline was on display on Saturday, as NCFC Academy product Caleb Duvernay was named in the starting lineup, as was former NCFC U23 standout Alex Comsia. DJ Taylor, an Academy alumnus, appeared as a substitute.
- UNC product Colton Storm made his first NCFC start, playing 72 minutes at right back.
- Steven Miller, DJ Taylor and Justin Rennicks appeared as second-half substitutes for NCFC.
NCFC begins its final multiple-game road trip of the regular season at Swope Park Rangers on Saturday, Sept. 14 at 5:00 p.m. ET before traveling to face the Charleston Battery on Sept. 22 for a Southern Derby showdown.
NCFC's next home match comes against Ottawa Fury FC on Saturday, Sept. 28 at 7:00 p.m. ET. 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): Alex Tambakis; Caleb Duvernay, Sam Brotehrton, Alex Comsia, Colton Storm (DJ Taylor, 72'); Graham Smith, Duval Wapiwo; Austin da Luz, Austin Panchot (Steven Miller, 58'), Donovan Ewolo; Robert Kristo (Justin Rennicks, 81')
Subs not used: Darrin MacLeod, Aaron Guillen, Victor Igbekoyi
BST (4-4-2): Todd Morton; Walter Cortes, Steve Kingue, Ben Ofeimu, Issa Rayyan (Dante Huckaby, 89'); James Chambers ©, Cole Turner, Zach Zandi, Axel Picazo; (Shanyder Borgelin, 74') Yomi Scintu, Patrick Bohui (Danny Flores, 80')
Subs not used: Lukas Burns, Saed Diaz
NCFC: Austin da Luz (Unassisted, 9'), Robert Kristo (Graham Smith, 20', Unassisted, 47')
BST: Yomi Scintu (Issa Rayyan, 45'), James Chambers (Unassisted, 60'), Shanyder Borgelin (Unassisted, 84')
NCFC: Sam Brotherton 16', Robert Kristo 48', Duval Wapiwo 85'
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