North Carolina FC Moves into Second Place in Group G with Win over Memphis 901 FC
Memphis, TN - North Carolina FC defeated Memphis 901 FC by a score of 1-0 on Saturday night at Autozone Park in Memphis, earning their second win of the season. NCFC relied on a goal by Akeem Ward and a stellar performance from goalkeeper Alex Tambakis to secure the win, improving their record to 2-1-1. Ward's goal was the first of his professional career.
Ward scored the lone goal of the match for NCFC in the 38th minute, receiving a sliding pass from Pecka just outside the eighteen. Redirecting his touch towards the net, Ward curved a shot past Memphis goalkeeper Jimmy Hague and into the upper ninety to notch the first goal of his professional career, putting NCFC up 1-0 late into the first half. Several passes were linked together leading up to the goal, making it a true team effort with an excellent finish. Ward's performance in tonight's game earned him the honor of Coastal Credit Union's Man of the Match.
NCFC entered the second half hungry to create scoring opportunities. In the 53rd minute, DJ Taylor threaded a pass into the box and to the feet of Robert Kristo. Kristo attempted to redirect the ball into the left corner of the net, only for the redirection to fall just wide of the goal and out of bounds.
Tambakis kept NCFC in the match, recording the clean sheet with a total of five saves. The clean sheet was Tambakis' second consecutive, as he also kept Birmingham Legion FC scoreless on August 1. The goalkeeper has only allowed three goals on the season.
Tonight's win over Memphis 901 FC moves North Carolina FC into second place in Group G of the USL Championship League with 7 points. NCFC remains unbeaten since returning to play on July 17.
Looking Ahead: North Carolina FC will return to WakeMed Soccer Park to face Birmingham Legion FC on Saturday, August 15 at 7:00 p.m. ET.
- Akeem Ward scored his first professional goal in the match.
- Ward's goal in the 38th minute marks the first time NCFC has scored in the first half this season.
- Former NCFC Youth Academy players DJ Taylor, Dre Fortune, Conor Donovan, and Manny Perez were all starters in tonight's match.
- Marios Lomis made his season debut with NCFC after transferring from El Paso Locomotive FC this week.
MEM (4-3-3): Jimmy Hague; Rece Buckmaster, Mark Segbers, Tristan Hodge (Liam Doyle, 62'), Zach Carroll; Jean-Christophe Koffi (Michael Reed, 59'), Leston Paul ©, Duane Muckette (Cal Jennings, 79'); Keanu Marsh-Brown (Marc Burch, 80'), Brandon Allen, Rafael Mantzingen (Matthew Hundley, 45')
Subs Not Used: Dan Metzger, Tim Howard
NC (4-5-1): Alex Tambakis; Akeem Ward, Conor Donovan, Sam Brotherton, D.J. Taylor; Pecka (Ben Speas, 88'), Steven Miller © (Alex Comsia, 90+4), Dre Fortune (Graham Smith, 45'), Hadji Barry, Manny Perez (Daniele Proch, 45'); Robert Kristo (Marios Lomis, 84')
Subs Not Used: Malick Mbaye, Paolo Pita
NC: Akeem Ward (Pecka, 38')
MEM: Leston Paul (65')
NC: Akeem Ward (15'), Dre Fortune (21')
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