Revolution II Trips vs. North Carolina FC
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - New England Revolution II (7-9-4, 25 pts.) fell on the road Saturday night at North Carolina FC, 4-1. Revolution Academy midfielder Esmir Bajraktarevic (2005 - Appleton, Wis.) broke the deadlock with his first professional goal in the 12th minute. North Carolina FC fired back with a pair of goals from ten minutes apart to take a halftime lead and added two more in the second half.
Academy midfielder Esmir Bajraktarevic collected his first start, making his fourth appearance since joining the Revolution Academy in August. The 16-year-old scored his first professional goal, sneaking in behind the North Carolina defense and slotting home a shot past Nicholas Holliday.
Defender Ryan Spaulding faced his former club for the first time back in his hometown of Cary, N.C., setting new career highs in shots (7) and shots on target (3), both team highs on the night. Goalkeeper Yannik Oettl made his second start of the season, recording two saves.
Six Revolution Academy graduates appeared in the match tonight - Damian Rivera, Justin Rennicks, Noel Buck all starting and Colby Quiñones, Meny Silva, and Hikaru Fujiwara all coming off the bench.
New England will return home to Foxborough on Friday, Sept. 17, to host Richmond Kickers at Gillette Stadium for the second time this season. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. ET on ESPN+.
New England Revolution II 1, North Carolina FC 4
September 11, 2021 - WakeMed Soccer Park (Cary, N.C.)
New England Revolution II lost, 4-1, at North Carolina FC on Saturday night in Cary, N.C., shifting their record to 7-9-4 on the season.
Academy midfielder Esmir Bajraktarevic became the seventh youth player to start a professional match for Revolution II on Saturday night, making his fourth consecutive appearance since joining the Revolution Academy residency program. Bajraktarevic netted his first professional goal, adding a key pass and two tackles in his first 90-minute outing.
Forward Connor Presley tallied his second assist of the season on Bajraktarevic's opener, his first since June 26.
Defender Ryan Spaulding set a new career high with seven shots on the night, three of which were on target. Spaulding also registered a team-high two clearances.
Midfielder Noel Buck registered team highs in recoveries (10) and chances created (2) while adding one shot.
Defender Pierre Cayet recorded one shot on target, added one key pass, and registered a team-high seven interceptions.
Forward and Revolution Academy graduate Meny Silva won 10 of his 11 duels in a 45-minute shift off the bench, adding two shots with one on target.
Revolution II Head Coach Clint Peay made two changes to the Starting XI from New England's last match on Sept. 5 vs. Tormenta FC, with Yannik Oettl and Esmir Bajraktarevic replacing Joe Rice and Tyler Freitas, respectively.
Referee: Alexandra Billeter.
Assistant Referees: Nicholas Seymour (AR1), Caleb Fearing (AR2).
Fourth Official: Emma Richards.
Weather: 76 degrees and clear.
NE - Esmir Bajraktarevic (Connor Presley) 12'
NC - Nazmi Albadawi (Unassisted) 16'
NC - Josh Coan (Aziel Jackson) 26'
NC - Nazmi Albadawi (Josh Coan) 54'
NC - Jay Tee Kamara (Josh Coan) 64'
NE - Collin Verfurth (Yellow Card - Bad Foul) 21'
NE - Sean O'Hearn (Yellow Card - Bad Foul) 23'
NC - Josh Coan (Yellow Card - Bad Foul) 30'
NC - Nelson Flores (Yellow Card - Bad Foul) 66'
New England Revolution II: Yannik Oettl; Ryan Spaulding, Pierre Cayet, Collin Verfurth ©, Sean O'Hearn (Colby Quiñones 46'); Esmir Bajraktarevic, Michel (Hikaru Fujiwara 55'), Noel Buck; Connor Presley, Damian Rivera (Meny Silva 46'), Justin Rennicks.
Substitutes Not Used: Joe Rice, Tyler Freitas, Francois Dulysse, Dennis Ramirez.
North Carolina FC: Nicholas Holliday; Peter Pearson, Malick Mbaye, Britton Fischer, Nelson Blanco Flores; Nelson Martinez, Cole Frame (Parker O'Ferral 86'), Nazmi Albadawi (Daniel Steedman 73'), Jay Tee Kamara (Luis Arriaga 66'), Josh Coan (Rohit Thakur 87'); Aziel Jackson (Thorn Simpson 65').
Substitutes Not Used: Jake McGuire, Shermaine Martina.
North Carolina FC Team Statistics New England Revolution II
12 (6) Shots (on Target) 18 (6)
1 Blocked Shots 5
5 Saves 2
1 Corner Kicks 7
4 Offsides 1
17 Fouls 8
383 (79.4%) Passes Attempted (% Completed) 390 (80.3%)
48.4% Possession 51.6%
New England Revolution II 1 vs. North Carolina FC 4
New England Revolution II Head Coach Clint Peay
On starting fast with Esmir Bajraktarevic scoring his first professional goal:
Peay: "I thought the group started okay. They were able to put a little pressure on, but it still isn't for me a collective, front-to-back great start. Esmir [Bajraktarevic], I thought he took the opportunity in front of him very well, created it, and I thought he had a decent game for a young player on the field."
On if the group grew complacent after taking an early lead:
Peay: "I just think we played very sloppy. We got our ass kicked. I think that guys weren't sharp enough, guys didn't have the urgency, and I think it was from the start of the game. I know that we hit the post and Esmir [Bajraktarevic] scored, but I didn't think that the sharpness on both sides of the ball was where it needed to be from minute one."
On if there were any silver linings from Saturday's loss:
Peay: "Well, there's certainly some guys who had sort of the right mindset and the right effort in the performance tonight. We want to make sure that we highlight that and make everyone aware that that's kind of the starting point. And then there's, from a silver lining standpoint, I think we have to look at ourselves in the mirror and say, 'How did I play, how did I perform, and how could I have done better.'"
On the team's current five-game winless run:
Peay: "We have to regroup. We have to get ourselves ready for the next game, that's all that you can do. You have to have the right mindset. We're professionals and they've got to be able to move on from this and prepare for the next game."
New England Revolution II Defender Ryan Spaulding
On playing against his former club in his hometown:
Spaulding: "There's nothing better than coming back home and playing in front of family, close friends, and old coaches. I see all these guys that I grew up playing with and playing for. It's pretty awesome to be a professional and come out here and have that opportunity."
On starting strong:
Spaulding: "I mean, it's always important to start well. I thought a good chance from Tico [Damian Rivera] off the post, that was good. Super happy for Esmir [Bajraktarevic], a young guy, getting this start, being able to get a goal. It's just super important for what we do after that. The first step is starting strong, and I think we did that, but there's more to the game than that. I think we have to learn from the mistakes we made in this game and just continue to push ourselves this week."
On if the team grew complacent after taking an early lead:
Spaulding: "I think NCFC just had a super strong response. I thought they brough the energy tonight with [North Carolina FC captain] Nazmi [Albadawi] playing his last game. I think the guys had a lot of fight in them for him and I think that showed and it was hard for us to match. I think, later on in the second half, we started pushing them back and getting chances. But at that point, it's a little late and we've got to get that going earlier on in the game."
On when the momentum started to shift:
Spaulding: "That's a tough question. I think it's more of a gradual effect. I think when they're goalie is making good saves, they're getting counter attacks on us, that doesn't help. And we know we have to push, we were down goal and still getting guys forward. It's just that balances of being dangerous in the attack but not letting them run at us with multiple guys on counter attacks. I think that was kind of tough for us to handle. But I wouldn't say a specific moment knocked the wind out of our sails."
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United Soccer League One Stories from September 11, 2021
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