North Carolina FC Held to Scoreless Draw against Birmingham Legion FC
CARY, N.C. - North Carolina FC had the chances, but some unlucky finishing, paired with a Birmingham Legion FC side content to settle for a point, led to a scoreless draw on Saturday night at Sahlen's Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park.
NCFC tallied 11 corner kicks and outshot Birmingham 17-10, but couldn't find the back of the net. NCFC remains in seventh place in the Eastern Conference standings with a record of 4W-2L-4D.
"It was a frustrating night," said NCFC Head Coach Dave Sarachan. "I thought we should've walked away with three points tonight. I didn't think in the first half our soccer was as good as we could be. I thought we played a little slowly. I think we could've upped the tempo. Having said that, I thought we created a few chances that we didn't convert. We didn't really concede a whole lot. In the second half, it was similar. I thought our tempo was better. Our passing was a little better. It was one of those nights. We hit a couple posts, there were skirmishes where I think we should get on the end of it and we walk away with one point instead of three."
Even from the early stages of the match, NCFC seemed set to take the lead. In the 24th minute, a low cross from Ben Speas opened a big hole in the Birmingham defense, but Marios Lomis' shot hit the post and bounced away from danger.
In the 31st minute, the visitor's goal was exposed once again. A ball played to Steven Miller seemed destined for the back of the net, but goalkeeper Trevor Spangenberg came across his line and dived to block the shot away at the last second.
The action in front of the Birmingham goal continued in the second half, but once again the final ball wasn't there.
A dangerous buildup in the 67th minute led to several chances in front of the goal, but missed shots, paired with several defensive blocks once again kept the game scoreless.
Dre Fortune produced NCFC's closest chance of the second half in the 81st minute of play. The midfielder created space and unleashed a curling ball headed for the far post, but his shot rebounded back off the crossbar.
In stoppage time, Birmingham's Zachary Herivaux earned his second yellow card in a four-minute span to put Birmingham down to 10 men. The final minutes ticked on, and Alex Tambakis made a save late as the game ended in a scoreless draw.
North Carolina FC hits the road for an away match at New York Red Bulls II on Friday, May 24 at 7 p.m. The team returns home for a Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup match on Wednesday, May 29 at 7 p.m. against the Florida Soccer Soldiers. The match will be played on Field 2 at WakeMed Soccer Park. Tickets are available online or can be purchased over the phone at 919-459-8144.
The club's youth-to-professional pipeline was well represented with NCFC Academy products Dre Fortune, Manny Perez and DJ Taylor starting for NCFC alongside NCFC U23 product Alex Comsia. Fellow Academy and U23 product Caleb Duvernay appeared on the NCFC bench, but did not enter the match.
The team earned its fourth shutout of the season behind a three-save performance from Alex Tambakis.
NCFC (4-2-3-1): Alex Tambakis; Aaron Guillen, Sam Brotherton, Alex Comsia, DJ Taylor; Dre Fortune, Victor Igbekoyi; Steven Miller © (Yamikani Chester, 71'), Ben Speas, Manny Perez (Donovan Ewolo, 80'); Marios Lomis (Robert Kristo, 85')
Subs not used: Darrin MacLeod, Caleb Duvernay, Graham Smith, Tommy McCabe
BHM (4-3-3): Trevor Spangenberg; Kyle Culbertson, Mathieu Laurent, Femi Hollinger-Janzen, Eric Avila; Daniel Johnson (Tyler Turner, 83'), Mikey Lopez ©, Zachary Herivaux; Prosper Kasim (Razak Cromwell, 46'), Brian Wright, Eddie Opoku (JJ Williams, 57')
Subs not used: Matt VanOekel, Joe Holland, Chandler Hoffman, Daigo Kobayashi,
NCFC: Sam Brotherton 89'
BHM: Femi Hollinger-Janzen 45+', Zachary Herivaux 88', 90+'
BHM: Zachary Herivaux 90+'
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