OMAHA, Neb. (September 6, 2023) — NorthCarolina FC fell to Union Omaha 3-4 at Werner Park. North Carolina still sit atop of the USL League One table with 47 points; however Union Omaha are right behind them with 46 points and a league high 7 match winning streak.
Union Omaha started the scoring only seven minutes into the first half when Marco Milanese ripped in a ball for Pedro Dolabella to head into the back of the net. However, North Carolina had an equalizing goal just two minutes later after Oalex Anderson squared the ball to Garrett McLaughlin who took his time and chipped Omaha’s keeper. The Owls had the 2-1 lead going into the second half when a counterattack led to a deflection off Dolabella giving Joe Brito a tap in goal.
Omaha gets a goal early after a long ball is driven to Steevan dos Santos who went one on one with NCFC Brooks Thompson, and passed it to the lower corner to tally another goal. Noe Meza added yet another goal to the score sheet for the Owls when Luis Gil slotted in a perfect ball for Meza to put away, giving Omaha a 4-1 lead. North Carolina responded late in the half after Jaden Servania set Rafa Mentzingen up for the perfect shot outside the eighteen-yard box for a line drive into the net. In extra time Preston Popp made it 3-4 after Nelson Flores Blanco played the perfect pass to the penalty spot to tap giving him his first professional goal. However that wouldn’t be enough as Union Omaha came out on top in the end.
Quoting North Carolina FC
Head Coach John Bradford on the match with Union Omaha and the match this weekend:
“Tonight was a night where we got punished for our mistakes by a good team in great form. I’m proud of the entire group for continuing to push to get back into the game. We have to learn from tonight and quickly shift our focus to our weekend match at Greenville.”
Head Coach John Bradford on reserve players stepping up:
“Credit to the reserves that came in and fought until the end. Happy for Preston to get his first goal of the year, as well.”
Forward Garrett McLaughlin on the match:
“I thought we played a good first half. In the second half It’s definitely tough to go down 4-1 but ending the game 4-3 and pushing for the fourth shows the fight in this group.”
Forward Preston Popp on the match and scoring his first professional goal:
“Obviously disappointing night not to get a result but it felt amazing to finally score my first professional goal especially scoring it for NCFC, a club that I have cherished for many years. We go again in a couple days which I think is a positive so we don’t dwell too hard on this match so we can focus on getting 3 points in Greenville on Saturday.”
- North Carolina have scored in their last 13 games in the USL League One, their longest scoring streak this season.
- P. Popp has scored his first goal in the USL League One this season.
- Rafael Mentzingen has attempted 87 shots this season, the joint-highest total in the USL League One (alongside C. Chaney).
North Carolina FC will have their second road match this week as they take on the Greenville Triumph on Saturday, September 9, with a 7:00 p.m. ET kickoff. The match will stream on ESPN+ and @NorthCarolinaFC will provide social media updates.
NCFC (4-3-1-2): Brooks Thompson, Nelson Blanco, Gustavo Fernandes, David Garcia (Luke Croll – 78), Devin Benton, Jaden Servania, Luis Arriaga (Rafael Mentzingen—71’), Michael Maldonado, Louis Perez (Max Flick – 78’), Oalex Anderson (Nathan Ntalu – 78’), Garrett McLaughlin (Preston Popp – 78’)
Subs Not Used: Tor Saunders, Christian Lue Young
OMA(4-4-2): Ian McGrane, Shaft Brewer Jr., Marco Milanese, Alexis Souahy, Dion Acoff (Anderson Holt – 82’), Conor Doyle, John Scearce, Joe Brito (Eddie Gordon – 82), Pedro Dolabella (Luis Gil – 72’), Joe Gallardo (Noe Meza – 72’), Steevan dos Santos (Alex Steinwascher – 86’)
Subs Not Used: Rashid Nuhu, Chavany Willis
NCFC: G. McLaughlin 11′ — (O. Anderson), Rafael Mentzingen 85′ — ( J. Servania), P. Popp 90+4′ — (N. Blanco)
OMA: Pedro Dolabella — 9′ (M. Milanese), J. Brito 45+2′– (Pedro Dolabella), Steevan dos Santos 59′ — ( J. Gallardo), N. Meza 75′ — (L. Gil)
NCFC: M. Maldonado — 12′, G. Fernandes — 15′, L. Arriaga – 49’, D. Benton — 69′, L. Croll 90+3
OMA: J. Scearce — 19′, S. Brewer — 54′, Pedro Dolabella — 70′, Steevan dos Santos –83′,