North Carolina FC Falls 1-0 at Swope Park Rangers
KANSAS CITY, Kan. - Despite creating multiple scoring chances and five saves by goalkeeper Alex Tambakis, North Carolina fell 1-0 to Swope Park Rangers on Saturday at Children's Mercy Park.
With five games remaining in the USL Championship regular season, NCFC (13W-8L-8D, 47 points) holds sixth place in the Eastern Conference.
On Saturday, both Swope Park and NCFC took defensive approaches to start off the game, although head coach Dave Sarachan's team still managed to carve out multiple scoring opportunities early on.
In the 18th minute, midfielder Dre Fortune cleverly set up forward Donovan Ewolo, whose curling effort rolled narrowly wide to the left.
Minutes later, it was Ewolo who impressively switched the ball across the field, giving midfielder Steven Miller a chance to unleash a well-hit shot that forced Swope Park goalkeeper John Pulskamp into a save.
Thanks to three first-half saves by Tambakis, NCFC went into the break tied 0-0. The visitors nearly took the lead in the 53rd minute as midfielder Graham Smith's corner kick reached forward Robbie Kristo, whose header rose high.
In the 58th minute, Swope Park grabbed the game's only goal as forward Wilson Harris scored from close range.
Despite falling behind, NCFC pushed forward, aided by the insertion of substitutes Manny Perez and Justin Rennicks. In the 72nd minute, right back DJ Taylor did well to play a dangerous ball into the box, which midfielder Austin da Luz nearly got on the end of.
In the end, NCFC couldn't find an equalizer and Swope Park protected its narrow lead.
- Midfielder Dre Fortune made his first NCFC appearance since returning from international duty with the Trinidad & Tobago National Team.
- NCFC's youth-to-pro pipeline was featured once again, as NCFC Academy products DJ Taylor and Dre Fortune were named in the starting lineup, as was former NCFC U23 standout Alex Comsia. Academy alumni Manny Perez and Caleb Duvernay each appeared as second-half substitutes.
- Justin Rennicks, Manny Perez and Caleb Duvernay appeared as second-half substitutes for NCFC.
- Forward Robbie Kristo started back-to-back matches for the second time this season.
North Carolina FC hits the road again for a Southern Derby showdown against the Charleston Battery on Sunday, Sept. 22 at 2:00 p.m. ET. With a win or a draw, NCFC can capture its fifth Southern Derby title, as NCFC is currently 1W-0L-2D against Charleston and the Charlotte Independence this season.
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.
SPR (4-1-4-1): John Pulskamp; Alexsander Andrade, Rennico Clarke, Kaveh Rad, Jaylin Lindsey; Ayyoub Allach; Tyler Freeman (Rassambek Akhmatov, 70'), Wan Kuzain, Felipe Hernandez©, Tucker Lepley (Mark Segbers, 90+6); Wilson Harris (Ethan Vanacore-Decker, 79')
Subs not used: Gavin Krenecki, Killian Colombie, Ze Pedro, Tucker Stephenson
NCFC (4-2-3-1): Alex Tambakis; Aaron Guillen, Sam Brotherton, DJ Taylor; Austin da Luz©, Graham Smith; Steven Miller (Manny Perez, 78'), Dre Fortune (Justin Rennicks, 78'), Donovan Ewolo (Caleb Duvernay, 89'); Robbie Kristo
Subs not used: Darrin MacLeod, Duval Wapiwo, Austin Panchot, Victor Igbekoyi
SPR: Wilson Harris (Jaylin Lindsey, 58')
SPR: Rassambek Akhmatov, 90+2'
NCFC: Manny Perez, 88'; Austin da Luz, 90+1'
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