NCFC U23 suffers 1-0 loss in USL League Two Opener
Cary, NC (May 10, 2019) – NCFC U23 kicked off the 2019 USL League Two season tonight with a heartbreaking 1-0 loss against Lionsbridge FC at WakeMed Soccer Park.
The youth to pro pipeline was very well represented during the game as 10 NCFC Youth Academy players appeared in NCFC U23's starting lineup highlighted by former NCFC goalkeeper George Marks who captained the team and was instrumental between the pipes.
The first half was spent mostly at midfield as the teams sized each other up. In the 10th minute, Lionsbridge forward Ivan Militar struck a ball towards goal only to see Marks deflect it into corner.
10 minutes later it was NCFC’s turn to get a good look at goal but Gabe Mercer’s shot from distance was saved by Lionsbridge’s Richard Dearle.
The best chance for the home side came in the 35th when Robert Screen crossed a ball into the box to an oncoming Miles Peay. Peay struck from close range but Dearle was able to deflect the ball into corner.
Both teams traded shots but could not find the back of the net in the first 45, sending the teams to the locker room scoreless at the half.
NCFC U23 came out applying more pressure in the second half. In the 48thminute, Mercer found himself on the receiving end of a cross, but his header barely missed the goal.
It was Lionsbridge FC, however, who would break the deadlock in the 53rd. Militar sent the ball across the goal mouth finding Travis Cooke’s feet and the forward shot it near post for the 1-0 lead.
Following the goal, NCFC U23 showed a lot of heart looking for the equalizer with back-to-back attempts by Mercer and Camden Holbrook but to no avail as Dearle was quick to save both.
Lionsbridge FC almost doubled the score in the 75thminute with a brilliant strike by Thibaut Jacquel but Marks made a diving save and deflected the ball into corner.
Just three minutes later NCFC’s Juan Hernandez was brought down in the box and the home side was awarded a penalty. Dominic Jensen stepped up to the spot, but his shot hit the crossbar and bounced back into play.
NCFC U23 continued to make attempts to tie up the game but was not able to capitalize on its chances as Lionsbridge FC managed the advantage in the closing minutes coming away with the 1-0 win.
Next, NCFC U23 will not have to travel far for their next game as they face Wake FC at Ting Park in Holly Springs, on Tuesday, March 14 at 7 p.m.
NCFC U23:George Marks ©; James Orozco, Aidan Foster, Tahzeiko Harris (David Mejia, 46’), Delasi Batse; Jose Morales Jr., Miles Peay, Dominic Jensen; Gabe Mercer, Robert Mercer, Camden Holbrook (Juan Hernandez, 68’)
Subs not used: Brendan Pulley, Kalvin Kromer, Will Mack
Lionsbridge FC:Richard Dearle; Luke Narker, Patrick Gyamfi, Derek Cook; Jamie Gunderson, Brennan Burton (May Poelker, 62’), Adrian Rebollar, Eren Elbutsu (James Lee, 87’); Ivan Militar © (Daniel Hoffman, 80’), Thibaut Jacquel, Travis Cooke (Tanner Dail, 68’)
Subs not used:Jacob Reimers, Matthew Lee, Hector Rivera,
NCFC U23: 0
Lionsbridge FC: 1
NCFC U23: --
Lionsbridge FC: Travis Cooke (Ivan Militar, 53’)
NCFC U23: --