North Carolina FC Exits Open Cup with Loss at New York City FC
Queens, N.Y. - Appearing in the fourth round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup for the fourth consecutive year, North Carolina FC found itself on the wrong end of a 4-0 result against New York City FC Wednesday night at Belson Stadium.
Facing an MLS opponent for the 15th time in its Open Cup history, NCFC reached Wednesday's match by defeating the Richmond Kickers and the Florida Soccer Soldiers in the second and third rounds, respectively.
Against NYCFC, North Carolina FC created several scoring chances and nearly took the lead in the 16th minute when midfielder Steven Miller forced opposing goalkeeper Brad Stuver into an uncomfortable save off of a short corner kick.
Even after NYCFC opened up the scoring in the 25th minute, NCFC found itself knocking on the door, as midfielder Ben Speas sent in a lofted ball to set up forward Donovan Ewolo, who lifted his shot too high in the 34th minute.
The hosts doubled their advantage during first-half stoppage time through midfielder Jesus Medina, and tacked on two more goals after halftime via midfielder Keaton Parks.
NCFC nearly got on the board on several occasions in the second half. In the 73rd minute, Speas did well to find midfielder Nazmi Albadawi, who fired a shot just wide to the left of the goal. Not long after, defender Caleb Duvernay, an NCFC Academy product, came inches away from finding the back of the net, but saw his shot deflect off the right post.
Moving forward, NCFC returns home on Saturday at 5 p.m. to face Swope Park Rangers in the first match of the club's Pride Night Doubleheader, presented by Credit Suisse, at Sahlen's Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park. The game will be followed by a match between the NC Courage and Portland Thorns scheduled for 7:45 p.m.
NCFC is unbeaten at home in league play (2W-0L-3D) and will look to keep that streak intact against a Rangers team that is 0W-4L-1D on the road. NCFC is currently in sixth place in the USL Championship Eastern Conference.
- NCFC head coach Dave Sarachan named an unchanged starting lineup from NCFC's 3-1 win at USL Championship-leading Tampa Bay last weekend.
- Center backs Alex Comsia and Sam Brotherton and midfielder Ben Speas each appeared in the U.S. Open Cup for the first time this season.
- NCFC's youth-to-pro pipeline was on full display as NCFC Academy alumni DJ Taylor and Dre Fortune started alongside former NCFC U-23 standouts Nazmi Albadawi and Alex Comsia. Academy product Caleb Duvernay appeared as a second-half substitute, while current Academy goalkeeper Trace Alpin, 16, was named to the bench.
- Caleb Duvernay, midfielder Austin Panchot and forward Yamikani Chester each appeared as substitutes in the second half.
- NCFC registered six shots on target, including a team-high three from forward Donovan Ewolo.
- Goalkeeper Alex Tambakis matched his season-high with six saves.
NYCFC (4-3-3): Brad Stuver, Tony Rocha, Justin Haak, Sebastian Ibeagha, Anton Tinnerholm; Maxi Moralez © (Heber, 90+3'), Juan Torres, Daniel Bedoya (Alexandru Mitrita, 80'); Jesus Medina (Ismael Tajouri-Shradi, 90'), Valentin Castellanos, Keaton Parks
Subs not used: Luis Barraza
NCFC (4-2-3-1): Alex Tambakis; Aaron Guillen, Sam Brotherton (Caleb Duvernay, 45'), Alex Comsia, DJ Taylor; Graham Smith, Nazmi Albadawi; Steven Miller © (Yamikani Chester, 61'), Dre Fortune (Austin Panchot, 79'), Ben Speas; Donovan Ewolo
Subs not used: Trace Alphin, Tim Mehl, Viktor Igbekoyi, Robert Kristo
NYCFC: Own Goal (Aaron Guillen, 25'), Jesus Medina (Tony Rocha, 45+2'), Keaton Parks (Juan Torres, 53', Maxi Moralez, 76')
NYCFC: Daniel Bedoya 41', Justin Haak 66'
NCFC: Graham Smith 62'
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