North Carolina FC Falls in Open Cup Heartbreaker to Houston

Jun 15, 2017
CARY, N.C. (June 14, 2017)- On another electric Open Cup night at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park, North Carolina FC came up one play short. The Houston Dynamo edged NCFC 3-2 with a goal in extra time to advance to the Round of 16 in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
Both teams went toe-to-toe with attacking chances throughout the match, as NCFC represented its MLS bid on the field. Steven Miller and Lance Laing both scored long-range goals in the match.

“We’re disappointed to lose the game,” said head coach Colin Clarke. “It was a lot of fun to watch and was pretty much end-to-end with a lot of chances. Maybe their bit of quality probably told in the end. We had enough chances to win the game and go ahead in extra time, but we weren’t clinical enough.”
NCFC opened with a dream start, scoring on a long-range strike from Miller in the fourth minute. The left back collected a rebound off a shot from Saeed Robinson and buried his chance in the top right corner to give NCFC an early lead. The goal was Miller’s second of the year across all competitions.
Houston nearly found a response in the eighth minute, as Andrew Wenger got free on the right, but bounced his shot off the post. However, Houston’s attacking play paid off in the 25th minute. Vicente Sanchez assisted Wenger who snuck his shot past Brian Sylvestre from close range to level the match.
The end-to-end play continued, and NCFC had another strong chance to score in the 28th minute. Laing made a run to open Houston's defense and his cross found a wide open Robinson in the box. However, Robinson’s goal-bound shot was cleared off the line by Dylan Remick.
The high-wire action extended into the second half when NCFC nearly converted a trio of chances right after the break. Houston escaped the threat after NCFC narrowly missed a pair of shots and Dynamo goalkeeper Joe Willis produced a reaction save against Matt Fondy from close range.
Houston capitalized first in the second half and grabbed the 2-1 lead in the 62nd minute, as Remick stole the ball in the attacking half and added a collected finish past Sylvestre for the goal.
NCFC responded just seven minutes later to level the match at 2-2. Laing produced another stroke of magic from a free kick. The Jamaican’s left foot sent a ball over the wall and wrong-footed Willis with a wicked bounce that snuck into the bottom left corner of the net to level the match for Laing’s first Open Cup goal and sixth goal this season.
The dangerous Houston attack nearly took the lead again, as Charlie Ward hit the post in the 75th minute.
Following a 45-minute lightning delay, the teams traded opportunities in the closing stages of the match, but both attempts skimmed past the frame, and ended regulation tied 2-2.
In the 94th minute, NCFC nearly provided a match-defining moment, as Fondy’s diving header was saved by Willis from point-blank range and Shipalane’s follow up was also cleared away from the goal mouth to escape the threat.
Houston took advantage of its chance in the 109th minute and scored the eventual game winner. Following a cleared corner kick, Memo Rodríguez shot the ball from outside the box and found the back corner of the net after his ball traveled through a crowded penalty area.
Houston held on the final 11 minutes for the victory, ending NCFC’s Open Cup season.
Up Next:
NCFC will continue its NASL season this Saturday on June 17, as it travels to take on the Indy Eleven. The club will return home to host the Indy Eleven for Pride Night on Saturday, June 24 at 7:30 p.m.
  • Steven Miller opened the scoring in the fourth minute with a goal from distance,
  • Lance Laing buried his sixth goal of the season and first Open Cup goal off a free kick to level the match. It was his third free-kick goal of the year
  • Paul Black returned from injury and played 120 minutes in his first contest since May 6th.
  • Andrew Wenger and Jalil Anibaba met former college teammates Christian Ibeagha and Billy Schuler as opponents on the field tonight
Box Score
NCFC: Brian Sylvestre; Paul Black, Christian Ibeagha, Brad Ruhaak, Steven Miller; Nazmi Albadawi ©, Austin da Luz (Bolu Akinyode, 88’), Lance Laing, Saeed Robinson (Matt Fondy, 46’), Tiyi Shipalane (Brian Shriver, 110’); Billy Schuler
Subs not used: Macklin Robinson, Dre Fortune, Kareem Moses, Jonathon Orlando
HOU: Joe Willis; Dylan Remick, Taylor Hunter, Kevin Garcia, Jalil Anibaba; Eric Bird, Joseph Holland (Jose Escalante, 81’), Charlie Ward, Jose Rodriguez (Jorginho James, 111); Vicente Sanchez ©(Ruben Luna 78’), Andrew Wenger
Subs not used: Calle Brown, Kai Greene, Camilo Monroy, Kyle Murphy
HOU: 3
NCFC: Steven Miller (unassisted, 4’), Lance Laing (unassisted, 69’)
HOU: Andrew Wenger (Vicente Sanchez, 25’), Dylan Remick (unassisted, 62’), Jose Rodriguez (unassisted, 109’)
NCFC: Austin da Luz 43’
HOU: Eric Bird 66’, Andrew Wenger 87’, Ruben Luna 101’
NCFC: --
HOU: --
Attendance: 4,325

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