FRESNO, CA (May 5, 2023) — Another goal by Rafa Mentzingen and a world class free kick from Louis Perez propelled top of the table North Carolina FC to its fourth consecutive win, defeating CV Fuego FC 2-0. It was a complete performance from NCFC, spending much of the match in Fuego’s half, creating many great chances.
From the first minute of the match NCFC was dominating possession and looking to attack. Mentzingen and Mikey Maldonado both came close to opening the scoring in the fifth minute with their shots going just wide of the post and over the bar, respectively.
Mentzingen would eventually open the scoring, getting on the end of a wonderful through ball on the top of the box from Oalex Anderson before chipping Mitchell North. Mentzingen’s goal is his fifth in the last four matches and sixth on the season, which leads USL League One. The assist was Anderson’s third of the season, which is second in the league.
Minutes later Anderson almost grabbed one of his own, controlling a cross from Jaden Servania with his chest and taking aim at the far post. His shot dragged wide of the post but was close to sneaking in.
NCFC came out aggressive in the second half with defender Nelson Flores Blanco having a great chance to double the lead. Chris Lue Young lofted in a cross from the right side of the field to Mentzingen who laid it off to Flores Blanco, but his first time effort went just over the bar.
In the 60th minute, NCFC received a free kick in a dangerous position after Servania was fouled. Mentzingen, Servania, and Perez all stood over the ball, but in the end it was the Parisian who beautifully struck the free kick into the top corner of the net. The goal was Perez’ second goal for NCFC, with both being scored from outside the box.
NCFC looked to see out the final 30 minutes but still ventured forward and created chances, most notably with Shak Adams being denied a goal after a great kick save.
The 2-0 win keeps NCFC atop the USL League One table and puts the team on 16 points from its first seven matches. After dropping its opener 1-0 to reigning league champions South Georgia Tormenta FC, NCFC is unbeaten in league play.
- Rafa Mentzingen leads the league with six goals
- Rafa Mentzingen has scored in four consecutive matches
- Oalex Anderson is second for most assists in the league with three
North Carolina FC returns to Cary after a two-week road stretch, hosting Forward Madison FC. The match is set for kickoff at WakeMed Soccer Park on Saturday, May 13, at 7:00 PM ET. You can watch the match, and all 2023 USL League One matches on ESPN+. You can also follow all of the action on North Carolina FC social platforms (@NorthCarolinaFC).
Head Coach John Bradford
On the match…
“Pleased for the group to get an important road win as well as secure the clean sheet. I thought the entire group contributed to the result and it was a great team performance.”
On NCFC’s winning streak…
“We are going to continue to take things one game at a time. But we’re looking forward to playing back at home this coming Saturday.”
Goalkeeper Nick Holliday
On the defensive performance…
“I thought the overall defensive performance was great. Keeping clean sheets are never easy but the guys did a great job keeping the other team quiet. I’m grateful to have such a great group of guys in front of me and to get the win.”
Forward Rafa Mentzingen
On his performance…
“It’s not easy to come all the way across the country and put a solid performance like that but I’m really proud of how we played today. Defended really well and had some great moments in transition. I’m really happy to be able to help the team get those points with my goals but if you look at it it’s all team built goals so all credit to my teammates as well. Now time to rest and get ready for 2 huge games at home.”
NC (4-4-2): Nicholas Holliday, Nelson Flores Blanco ( DJ Benton – 88’), David Garcia, Gustavo Fernandes, Chris Lue Young, Mikey Maldonado ©, Luis Arriaga, Louis Perez (Raheem Somersall – 69’), Rafa Mentzingen (Daniel Navarro – 88’), Jaden Servania (Shak Adams – 79’), Oalex Anderson (Garrett McLaughlin – 69’)
Subs Not Used: Tor Saunders, Preston Popp
CV (4-3-3): Mitchell North, Jesus Partida, Jordan Chavez © (Razak Cromwell – 46’), Francois Dulysse, Omar Lemus (Adrian Vera – 88’), Alexis Cerritos, Ozzie Ramos (Victor Falck – 79’), Jose Carrera-Garcia, Villyan Bijev, David Ramon (Zahir Vazquez – 46’), Diego Casillas (Harold Hanson – 64’)
Subs Not Used: Matias Fernandez, Othoniel Jaramillo
NC: R. Mentzingen – 32’ (O. Anderson assist), L. Perez – 60’
NC: D. Garcia – 36’, R. Mentzingen – 65’
CV: O. Lemus – 24’, J. Chavez – 45+2’, D. Casillas – 62’, R. Cromwell – 77’, R. Cromwell – 78’
CV: – R. Cromwell – 78’