CARY, N.C. (March 9, 2019)- North Carolina FC began the Dave Sarachan era with a commanding 4-1 victory over two-time defending USL Cup Champions Louisville City FC. The team began a new era as they played in front of an electric crowd at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park. Marios Lomis opened the scoring followed by tallies from Donovan Ewolo, Tommy McCabe and Robbie Kristo with the latter two recording goals in their NCFC debut.
“It was the first game of a long season,” said head coach, Dave Sarachan. “We can’t just rest on this, but obviously it was a terrific start against what I would still consider a great team in Louisville.”
NCFC started the match with not only a new coach in Sarahcan but also four new faces in the starting lineup. Two of these players, Alex Comsia and Sam Brotherton anchored the back line that only allowed one goal during the match.
The scoring kicked off in the 34th minute when Ewolo sent in a ball to Lomis who trapped it with his left foot, took three touches with his right foot, and blasted the ball into the bottom corner of the net. Lomis had another chance four minutes later, this time with a ball from Steven Miller, but the Dutchman barely headed left of goal.
The team entered the locker room at halftime with the 1-0 lead, and then came out attacking quickly in the second half. Miller started off an offensive attack in the 50th minute with a high arching ball that found the head of Ben Speas. The header bounced off the goal post before Tommy McCabe came flying into the box to finish the loose ball for a goal.
McCabe was excited to score in his first game with the North Carolina Football Club. “I haven’t scored in a while, so it was good to score in my debut. It was a great team win against a great opponent, so that’s the perfect way to start the season.”
NCFC kept up the momentum with a third goal just three minutes later. Austin da Luz played a ball wide to DJ Taylor who dribbled it to the end line before crossing it back to Ewolo who one-touched it into the net.
Lomis nearly had his second goal of the game after blasting a shot off the top crossbar in the 73rd. The offensive attacks did not stop there though, as NCFC pressured Louisville’s goalkeeper, Tim Dobrowski, the entire second half.
Kristo entered the game in the 75th minute, making his debut for the club. It only took him eight minutes before he made his impact on the game. Speas sent a long ball that Kristo received at midfield before racing a Louisville City FC defender one-on-one down the field and chipping the ball over Dobrowski.
Louisville City FC midfielder Sunny Jane scored the team’s only goal in added time denying Alex Tambakis a clean sheet. He put a low driving shot past the Greek goalkeeper, shortly before the final whistle blew.
North Carolina FC will travel to Pennsylvania for their first away game of the season against Bethlehem Steel FC on Saturday, March 16 at 7 p.m.
NCFC (4-2-3-1): Alex Tambakis; Aaron Guillen, Sam Brotherton, Alex Comsia, DJ Taylor; Donovan Ewolo (Manny Perez, 72’), Tommy McCabe, Steven Miller; Austin da Luz ©, Ben Speas (Dre Fortune, 84’); Marios Lomis (Robert Kristo, 75’)
Subs not used: Nic Platter, Duval Wapiwo, Victor Ibekoyi, Yamikami Chester
LOU (4-3-3): Tim Dobrowolski; Sean Totsch (Lucky Mkosana, 57’), Paco Craig, Alexis Souahy, Oscar Jimenez; Paolo DelPiccolo ©, Speedy Williams, Niall McCabe; Brian Ownby, Luke Spencer (Magnus Rasmussen, 77’), George Davis IV (Sunny Jane, 57’)
Subs not used: Benjamin Lundt, Shawn Francis, Taylor Peay
NCFC: Marios Lomis (Donovan Ewolo, 34’), Tommy McCabe (unassisted, 50’), Donovan Ewolo (DJ Taylor, 53’), Robert Kristo (Ben Speas ,83’)
LOU: Sunny Jane (unassisted, 90+’)
Attendance: 3, 213