KENNESAW, Ga. (April 13, 2019) – North Carolina FC suffered its first setback of the season with a 2-1 loss to Atlanta United 2 on Saturday night at Fifth Third Bank Stadium.
North Carolina FC went behind early and came back to equalize in the first half, but another comeback wasn’t on the cards, as Atlanta took the lead for good in the second half.
After a quick start to the match, North Carolina FC looked set for an early goal. However, Atlanta goalkeeper Brendan Moore was determined to keep the visitors from scoring. The former UNC men’s soccer talent produced several fine stops, including point-blank saves off shots from Steven Miller and Donovan Ewolo.
Atlanta United 2 were the first to score, finding the back of the net off a quick counter attack. Gordon Wild received a ball from Andrew Carleton behind the NCFC backline. In a one-on-one opportunity with Alex Tambakis, Gordon tucked his shot under Tambakis for the goal.
Despite falling behind, North Carolina FC fought back to equalize for the third game in a row. In the 36th minute, Marios Lomis received a cross from DJ Taylor before placing a weighted shot in the back corner of the net from close range. The goal was his team-leading fourth of the season, and Taylor added his second assist of the year.
In the second half, North Carolina FC once again enjoyed periods of prolonged attacks on Atlanta’s goal. However, Atlanta would score again off a counter attack in the 67th minute. The home side forced a turnover deep in North Carolina FC’s defensive half. Jackson Conway was the recipient of the turnover and tucked away Atlanta’s second goal of the night.
The additions of Manny Perez and Yamikani Chester gave North Carolina FC some fresh legs on the wings, and Robert Kristo replaced Sam Brotherton to add another attacking option to the effort. However, NCFC struggled to get past a resolute Atlanta side.
With time winding down, Atlanta survived the late push from North Carolina FC and held on for the victory.
The road trip continues with an away match at Charlotte Independence on Saturday, April 20. Fans are encouraged to join Oak City Supporters on a bus trip to Matthews for the match. North Carolina FC returns home to face Hartford Athletic on Saturday, April 27 at 7 p.m. at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park. Tickets are available online now, or by calling the Coastal Credit Union Box Office at 919-459-8144.
North Carolina Football Club’s youth-to-pro pipeline was vibrantly displayed. NCFC Youth Academy product DJ Taylor started the match alongside NCFC U-23 product Alex Comsia. Academy product Manny Perez appeared as a second-half substitute. NCFC U-23 and Acdemey product Caleb Duvernay was on the bench, but did not see game action, and Academy product Dre Fortune is also a part of the team, but did not feature in the game-day 18.
North Carolina FC was without captain Austin da Luz, who was out due to receiving a red card in the previous match.
Marios Lomis scored his team-leading fourth goal of the season.
Taylor provided the assist on the goal – his second of the season.
ATL (4-4-2): Brendan Moore; Jon Gallagher, Wesly Decas, Guillermo Benítez, George Campbel; Anderson Asiedu, Andrew Carleton, Jack Metcalf © (Laurent Kissiedou, 56’), Will Vint; Gordon Wild (Luiz Fernando, 45’), Jackson Conway (Laurence Wyke, 86’)
Subs not used: Dylan Castanheira, José Hernández, Lagos Kunga, Kevin Barajas
NCFC (4-2-3-1): Alex Tambakis; Aaron Guillen, Sam Brotherton (Robert Kristo, 84’), Alex Comsia, DJ Taylor; Tommy McCabe, Graham Smith, Donovan Ewolo (Yamikani Chester, 73’), Ben Speas, Steven Miller © (Manny Perez, 68’); Marios Lomis
Subs not used: Darrin MacLeod, Caleb Duvernay, Victor Igbekoyi, Duval Wapiwo
ATL: Gordon Wild (Andrew Carleton, 25’), Jackson Conway (Laurent Kissiedou, 67’)
NCFC: Marios Lomis (DJ Taylor, 36’)
ATL: Will Vint, 63’
NCFC: Graham Smith 43’