North Carolina FC Narrowly Defeated in Charleston
CHARLESTON, S.C. - Despite a second-half goal by midfielder Nazmi Albadawi, North Carolina FC fell 2-1 to the Charleston Battery at MUSC Health Stadium Sunday afternoon.
With four regular-season matches remaining, NCFC (13W-9L-8D, 47 points) holds seventh place in the USL Championship Eastern Conference.
Throughout the first half, chances were scarce for the two sides, as both defenses kept their shape. However, midfielder Manny Perez managed to create a handful of threatening chances for NCFC in the game's opening minutes out on the right flank.
Ultimately, it was Charleston's Tah Anunga who opened the scoring for the hosts right before the break with a goal in the 44th minute.
Trailing 1-0 after halftime, head coach Dave Sarachan's squad found itself in the final third quite often as the second half began, consistently putting Charleston's defense under pressure. NCFC's persistence was rewarded in the 49th minute, as right back DJ Taylor connected with Albadawi for an equalizing goal.
After chasing down a ball from Perez, Taylor played in a low cross from the endline, which Albadawi calmly slotted into the back of the net with a one-timed effort. The goal was Albadawi's second since rejoining NCFC in June, and the assist was Taylor's fourth of the season.
After pulling even, NCFC continued to pressure the hosts, as forward Donovan Ewolo put a headed shot on frame in the 54th minute.
As the game's final minutes approached, NCFC continued to chase a second goal. In the 82nd minute, second-half substitute Robbie Kristo did well to turn and fire a left-footed shot, but he saw his effort saved by Charleston's Joe Kuzminsky.
In the 93rd minute, Charleston grabbed the decisive goal, with a score by Nicholas Rittmeyer.
- NCFC recorded five shots on target in the second half.
- With his goal on Sunday, Nazmi Albadawi now has 23 career goals for NCFC, moving him up to fourth place on the club's all-time scoring list.
- Midfielder Ben Speas returned from injury and started as he made his first appearance since Aug. 10 against Memphis 901 FC.
- NCFC's youth-to-pro pipeline was on full display once again, as NCFC Academy products DJ Taylor, Manny Perez and Caleb Duvernay were named in the starting lineup, as was former NCFC U23 standout Nazmi Albadawi. NCFC U23 alumnus Alex Comsia was named to the bench.
- Midfielder Nazmi Albadawi (Palestine) and forward Yamikani Chester (Malawi) appeared for the first time since returning from international duty with their respective national teams.
- Yamikani Chester, Robbie Kristo and Justin Rennicks appeared as second-half substitues.
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.
CHS (4-4-1-1): Joe Kuzminsky; A.J. Paterson, Jarad van Schaik, Taylor Mueller©, Kyle Nelson; Dante Marini (Nicholas Rittmeyer, 63'), Tah Anunga, Vincenzo Candela (Ataulla Guerra, 78'), Romario Piggott; (Kotaro Higashi, 85') Zeiko Lewis; Arthur Bosua
Subs not used: Angelo Kelly-Rosales, Ian Svantesson, O'Brian Woodbine, Phil Breno
NCFC (4-2-3-1): Alex Tambakis; Caleb Duvernay, Aaron Guillen, Victor Igbekoyi, DJ Taylor; Graham Smith, Nazmi Albadawi; Steven Miller© (Yamikani Chester, 78'), Ben Speas, Manny Perez (Justin Rennicks, 90'); Donovan Ewolo (Robbie Kristo, 78')
Subs not used: Darrin MacLeod, Austin da Luz, Duval Wapiwo, Alex Comsia
CHS: Tah Anunga (unassisted, 44'), Nicholas Rittmeyer (Kyle Nelson, 90+3)
NCFC: Nazmi Albadawi (DJ Taylor, 49')
CHS: Jarad van Schaik 89'
NCFC: DJ Taylor 64'
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