Sports stats

 North Carolina FC

North Carolina FC on to U.S. Open Cup Round of 32

by Fran Stuchbury
April 19, 2024 - United Soccer League Championship (USL)
North Carolina FC

North Carolina FC U.S. Open Cup roster
North Carolina FC U.S. Open Cup roster
(North Carolina FC, Credit: Fran Stuchbury)

North Carolina FC defeated MLS NEXT Pro side Carolina Core FC 1-0 in the third round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in front of 1,112 fans at WakeMed Soccer Park Wednesday evening.

North Carolina FC recorded its first win in U.S. Open Cup play since 2019 thanks partly to goalkeeper Antonio Carrera who turned in his first clean sheet for the club.

The U.S. Open Cup was founded in 1914 and is the oldest single-game elimination national soccer tournament. MLS's Houston Dynamo won the cup last year by defeating Inter Miami CF 2-1.

"I thought the guys played well tonight," said North Carolina FC Head Coach John Bradford. "Competed well, and obviously, you're in the first shutout that we've had in a little while. I think that was important for us. That was something we were harping on in terms of details and getting out of the game, what we wanted to get out of it. So really pleased with the overall effort; I think it speaks to the club's mission of being able to play young players, have faith and trust and support in them; to see them be able to flourish on a great stage. So we're excited about that."

North Carolina scored its only goal in the second half in the 61st minute by forward Julian Placias, who just turned 18. It was hi first goal with the team, assisted by Garrett McLaughlin.

"I'm really, really happy for him," said McLaughlin. "He's been training well and getting more and more opportunities and see him score and celebrate, and it's kind of like a weight lifted off the shoulder. I'm really happy that I could provide that for him."

On playing in the U.S. Open Cup Bradford added, "I think anytime you play in an elimination competition, there's a way that you have, a feeling about the game knowing that, yeah, you have to prepare for the fact that if it's tied after regulation, it could go to penalties or whatever. But as far as the roster goes, we look at it as another competitive opportunity for us, guys who get called upon to be able to step up and do that."

Carolina Core FC, located in High Point, North Carolina, is an independent team playing in its first season in MLS NEXT Pro. Some fans traveled to see the team play in person.

"The boys showed a lot of effort tonight; we came to play," said Core FC Head Coach Roy Lassiter. "We studied our opponents well, and we had a game plan coming into the game. They're a good, seasoned, and experienced team. We wanted to come in and put up a good fight. They got their opportunity and scored. I felt that we had our opportunities as well, with there being a couple of offside calls that could be questionable, but referees are humans, too. We really wanted to come in and compete to win this game today, and the boys gave a good effort. These are games we have to learn from.

"The cup is a good experience. We're playing teams that are a little bit more seasoned than us, and that's okay. It's a challenge, and I like the challenge. The players like the challenge, and none of us like to lose. We'll use this game to learn from our mistakes."

North Carolina FC has been drawn to host Phoenix Rising FC in the Open Cup Round of 32 that will take place on Wednesday, May 8th at 7 pm est.

Images from this story

North Carolina FC takes on Carolina Core FC in U.S. Open Cup play
North Carolina FC takes on Carolina Core FC in U.S. Open Cup play

North Carolina FC U.S. Open Cup roster
North Carolina FC U.S. Open Cup roster

(Fran Stuchbury)

• Discuss this story on the United Soccer League Championship message board...

United Soccer League Championship Stories from April 19, 2024

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer(s), and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

OurSports Central