Cary, NC (May 24, 2019)– North Carolina FC U23 returned to the pitch tonight to defeat crosstown rival Tobacco Road FC 2-0 in USL League Two play, behind goals by Robert Screen and Gabe Mercer. NCFC U23 now sits in second place in the USL League Two South Atlantic Division with six points, just one behind Lionsbridge FC.
Several NCFC Youth Academy players featured on the team-sheet for the game including current Academy and NCFC senior team players Colton Pleasants and US U17 standout Adam Armour who recently helped the United States qualify for U17 FIFA World Cup to be held in Brazil later this year.
NCFC U23 broke the deadlock in the opening minutes of the game with a beautiful strike from Screen. The forward received a ball from Mercer in the third minute and fired a rocket far post for the 1-0 lead.
In the 19th, NCFC U23 almost doubled up when Mercer came down the right side and crossed a ball into the box, but Julian Ngoh barely missed the connection.
Tobacco Road FC looked to be going for goal in the 34thbut Pol Monells shot was easily deflected into corner by NCFC’s Tyler Dressman. Just four minutes later the visitors got dangerous again with a well-placed shot by Jonathan Ray but his strike hit the post and was cleared by a strong NCFC U23 defense.
In the second half Tobacco Road FC applied a little more pressure as NCFC U23 goalkeeper was called into action making a diving save on Monell’s shot from distance in the 54th.
The second half continued with back-and-forth action as both teams tried to capitalize on chances, but it was the home side who would find the insurance tally late in the game.
In the 79thminute Ngoh dispossessed a Tobacco Road player and took the ball down the side. The NCFC U23 forward sent a weighted cross into the middle of the box to find an oncoming Mercer who deftly headed the ball past Tobacco Road Fc’s goalkeeper, sealing the visitors’ fate and fixing the score at 2-0.
Next, NCFC U23 returns to the pitch on Tuesday, May 28 to face North Carolina Fusion U23 at 7 p.m. at WakeMed Soccer Park.
NCFC U23:Will Pulisic; James Kasak (Orlin Roque, 70’), Tyler Dressman (Adam Armour, 46’), Delasi Batse, Parker Cross; Sergi Nus (Sheldon China, 53’), Gabe Mercer ©, Colton Pleasants (Juan Hernandez, 58’, Miles Peay, 84’); Aidan Foster, Robert Screen, Julien Ngoh (Camden Holbrook, 82’)
Subs not used:George Marks
Tobacco Road FC:William Scott; Mathias Frick (Tyler Agiovlassitis, 70’), Vicente Gallardo, William Ramirez, Wilson Musyoka; Javier Alcarria, Brice Nikiema, Quinton Kipara (Ludovic Rocha, 61’); Pol Monells (Andy Lopez, 75’), Jonathan Ray (Oscar Moreno Veliz, 78’), Joaquin del Rosario © (Fernando Castellanos, 64’)
Subs not used:Carter Boliek, Matthew Cutler
NCFC U23: 2
Tobacco Road FC: 0
NCFC U23: Robert Screen (Gabe Mercer, 3’), Gabe Mercer (Julian Ngoh, 79’)
Tobacco Road FC: --
NCFC U23: Aidan Foster 62’, Delasi Batse, 86’
Tobacco Road FC: Wilson Musyoka 25’, Vicente Gallardo 59’, Jonathan Ray 71’
NCFC U23: --
Tobacco Road FC: --