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Open Cup Preview: NCFC Host Carolina Core FC Wednesday

April 16, 2024 - United Soccer League Championship (USL)
North Carolina FC News Release

CARY, N.C. - North Carolina FC will host intrastate foe Carolina Core FC in the third round of the 2024 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday, April 17, at 7 p.m. ET at WakeMed Soccer Park.

Tickets for the game will be $10 and $5 cans of Lioness Lager and The Sitter and the Striker from Bombshell Brewing Company will be available. Purchase tickets here.

Wednesday will mark NCFC's debut in the 2024 edition of the century-old cup, while Carolina Core entered in the second round and advanced over Vermont Green FC, 2-1, on the road two weeks ago.

NCFC has never officially played Carolina Core, who joined MLS Next Pro this season, but they faced off during the 2024 preseason. NCFC won that matchup 5-2.

North Carolina FC has a rich history in the Open Cup, including historic 'cupsets' over MLS teams and a run to the semifinals in the team's inaugural 2007 season. Most notably, the then-Carolina RailHawks knocked off the LA Galaxy in three consecutive Cups in front of raucous crowds at WakeMed Soccer Park.

Brian Shriver is the team's all-time leading scorer with eight goals. He also holds the team record for goals in a single tournament with five in 2012, earning the Golden Boot in that year's competition.

With a win, NCFC would reach the fourth round of the competition for the eighth time.

North Carolina FC seeks their first win in the competition since 2019, when the team beat the Florida Soccer Soldiers 1-0 in the third round. NCFC fell late on the road to Loudoun United FC in their first contest of last year's tournament.

Midfielder Jaden Servania, who has scored in back-to-back Cups, has an opportunity to crack into the team's top-10 goal scorers in the competition. The midfielder is currently tied with six other players on two goals, but a third would put him tied for seventh alongside notable NCFC alumni like Austin da Luz, Anthony Maher and Marios Lomis.

Scouting Carolina Core

Carolina Core FC earned a win on penalties against Crown Legacy FC, Charlotte FC's affiliate team, on penalties in their season opener, but have dropped their last two games in MLS Next Pro to sit 1-2 on the season.

The game against Crown Legacy ended 1-1, but MLS Next Pro uses a penalty shootout to determine winners of every contest instead of draws, with the winning team taking home an extra point.

David Polanco has bagged both of Carolina Core's regular season goals this season, while Papa Ndoye and Joshua Rodriguez grabbed goals in the team's come-from-behind second round Cup win.

Jacob Evans has also provided an offensive spark out of the midfielder with a team-high 10 shots and 93.5% passing accuracy.

Alex Sutton has been the go-to man for Carolina Core between the sticks, starting all three games, making eight saves and allowing seven goals.

Next Up

North Carolina FC will return to USL Championship action on Saturday, April 20, to cap off the three-game homestand against New Mexico United FC at 7 p.m. ET at WakeMed Soccer Park. The game will be the team's Inked Night with airbrush and temporary tattoo artists in Fan Fest, a megaphone giveaway and more. Tickets are available.

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