CHESTER, Penn. (March 16, 2019) – North Carolina FC rolled to a 1-0 shutout victory at Talen Energy Stadium over Bethlehem Steel FC on Saturday night. The victory keeps NCFC perfect on the season with a 2-0-0 record and at the top of the USL Championship Eastern Conference standings.
The shutout was the first for the team since a 1-0 victory over Penn FC on Sept. 16, 2018. Goalkeeper Alex Tambakis made two saves to earn the shutout, while NCFC’s backline repelled Bethlehem all night long.
The teams played out a scoreless first half. Marios Lomis nearly broke the deadlock when he earned a penalty in stoppage time. However, his shot was saved, as was his follow up attempt with tremendous effort from Bethlehem goalkeeper Carlos Coronel.
It didn’t take long from the restart for Lomis to make up for his first-half miss. In the 51st minute, Steven Miller flicked a ball over the Bethlehem backline to the waiting Lomis. The forward hit a beautiful half volley into the back of the net for his second goal in as many games. Miller recorded his first assist of the season.
NCFC had its share of chances throughout the rest of the match, but excellent goalkeeping from Coronel kept NCFC from doubling the lead, including a point blank save on a shot from Ben Speas in the 71st minute.
Bethlehem Steel had its best opportunities of the night late in the contest. The home side pressed NCFC hard for an equalizer in the closing minutes, but a few half chances in the box and a missed opportunity from a cross were as close as the side would come to scoring.
NCFC closed out the final minutes of play with clinical results, keeping the ball near the corner flag until the final whistle.
North Carolina FC will return home to feature in a Friendship Cup doubleheader on Saturday, March 23. The NC Courage will host Orlando Pride in a preseason match at 1 p.m. before NCFC faces Club Necaxa of Liga MX in an international exhibition at 3:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased here.
NCFC Head Coach Dave Sarachan made no changes to his opening day starting XI, while Graham Smith and Darrin MacLeod appeared on the bench for the first time this season. Smith made his season debut, subbing on in the 90th minute.
Marios Lomis scored the opening goal for his second tally in as many games, while Steven Miller recorded an assist on the goal, his first of the season.
Alex Tambakis secured a shutout in net, making two saves on the night.
The result is NCFC’s first away shutout win since a 1-0 victory at Penn FC on Sept. 16, 2018.
BST (4-4-2): Carlos Coronel; Matt Real, Topey Jamoi, Benjamin Ofeimu, Nathan Harriel; Zachary Zandi, James Chambers ©, Willis Chavany, Turner Cole (Steve Kingue, 76’); Jack De Vries (Anges Bohui, 62’), Issa Rayyan
Subs not used: Saed Diaz, Walter Cortes, Tomas Romero, Faris Pemi Moumbagna
NCFC (4-3-2-1): Alex Tambakis; Aaron Guillen, Sam Brotherton, Alex Comsia, DJ Taylor; Donovan Ewolo, Tommy McCabe, Steven Miller (Yamikami Chester, 77’); Austin da Luz © (Graham Smith, 90’), Ben Speas; Marios Lomis (Robert Kristo, 68’)
Subs not used: Darrin MacLeod, Manny Perez, Victor Igbekoyi, Dre Fortune
NCFC: Marios Lomis (Steven Miller, 51’)
NCFC: Aaron Guillen 63’