North Carolina FC Falls to Louisville City FC 1-0 in Hard Fought Battle
LOUISVILLE, KY - North Carolina FC suffered a narrow 1-0 defeat at the hands of Louisville City FC at Louisville Slugger Stadium on Saturday night. A goal by Magnus Rasmussen ended up being the difference between the two teams despite a strong showing by NCFC.
The visitors came out of the gates flying as they created chances early on with Donovan Ewolo in the 8th minute and Nazmi Albadawi two minutes later. As the half wore on, the play continued in the Louisville City half of the field but NCFC was unable to capitalize on its many opportunities.
In the 23rd minute, Dre Fortune took advantage of a poor Louisville clearance and laid off the ball to the ubiquitous Manny Perez in the box, but the home side's Sean Totsch was quick to clear the challenge.
NCFC appeared to break the deadlock with a beautiful Ewolo finish in the 32nd, however, the goal was deemed offside. The teams entered halftime tied at 0-0 but not before a shot by Louisville's Devon Williams from distance that was easily saved by Darrin MacLeod.
The teams took some time to settle in to begin the second half but it was the home side who would get on the board. In the 55th minute, Rasmussen was able to head in a corner kick from Oscar Jimenez to give Louisville the 1-0 advantage.
NCFC responded in the 69th minute with DJ Taylor finding Steven Miller in the box, but the midfielder's shot barely sailed above the crossbar.
The visitors continued to battle searching for the elusive equalizer and almost found it in the final minutes of the game. Second-half substitutes Caleb Duvernay and Justin Rennicks connected in the 89th minute but the United States U20 forward's strike hit the far post and ricocheted back into play for a Louisville clearance fixing the result at 1-0 for the reigning USL Champions.
Next, NCFC continues its road swing with a trip to Virginia to face Loudoun United on Saturday, August 31 at SEGRA Field in Leesburg, VA at 7:30 p.m. The team returns home the following week to host Bethlehem Steel at 7:00 p.m. at Sahlen's Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park. For tickets and information please call the Coastal Credit Union Box Office at 919.459.8144 or visit www.NorthCarolinaFC.com
NCFC's youth-to-pro pipeline was on full display Saturday as NCFC Academy products DJ Taylor, Manny Perez and Dre Fortune were named to the starting lineup, as were former NCFC U23 standouts Nazmi Albadawi and Alex Comsia. Caleb Duvernay, who played for both the Academy and NCFC U23, appeared as a second-half substitute. Academy product Ryan Cretens was included in the 18-player squad but did not feature.
NCFC Captain Austin da Luz earned his first start since April 20 against Charlotte Independence. He appeared as a substitute in the last three NCFC games.
NCFC Youth Academy standout Manny Perez earned his first start since May 18 against Birmingham Legion. He appeared as a substitute against Tampa on August 21 and Pittsburgh on August 17.
Justin Rennicks and Robert Kristo also appeared as second half substitutes.
LOU (4-3-3): Chris Hubbard; Oscar Jimenez, Paco Craig, Sean Totsch, Pat McMahon; Napo Matsoso, Devon Williams ©, Magnus Rasmussen (George Davis IV, 77'); Abdou Thiam (Luke Spencer, 66'), Antoine Hoppenot (Alexis Souhay, 90+2'), Niall McCabe
Subs not used: Tim Dobrowolski, Shaun Francis, Akil Watts, Sunny Jane
NCFC (4-2-3-1): Darrin MacLeod; Aaron Guillen (Robert Kristo, 81'), Sam Brotherton, Alex Comsia, DJ Taylor; Austin da Luz ©, Nazmi Albadawi; Steven Miller, Dre Fortune, Manny Perez (Caleb Duvernay, 73'); Donovan Ewolo (Justin Rennicks, 72')
Subs: Ryan Cretens, Colton Storm, Duval Wapiwo, Graham Smith
LOU: Magnus Rasmussen (Oscar Jimenez, 55')
LOU: Magnus Rasmussen 74', Sean Totsch 76', Oscar Jimenez 84'
NCFC: Steven Miller 78'
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