MATTHEWS, N.C. (April 14, 2018)– North Carolina FC battled past the Charlotte Independence 2-0 on Saturday night at the Sportsplex at Matthews to claim its first win of the USL season.
In front of a near sellout crowd with a large contingent of traveling NCFC fans, the intense rivalry match created plenty of chances for both teams in an exciting end-to-end game. Goals from Daniel Rios in the 50th minute and Marios Lomis in the 86th minute clinched the result for NCFC.
For much of the first half, Daniel Rios found his way behind the Charlotte defense, but the forward couldn’t find the finishing touch on several chances, which left the squads tied at 0-0 heading into halftime.
However, just five minutes after the break, Rios found the elusive goal to give NCFC the lead. Rios ripped a shot off the post on the initial attempt, but made no mistake on the rebound, tucking away his second goal of the season.
In the closing stages of the match, Marios Lomis added an insurance goal, poking home a loose ball in the box for his first career NCFC goal.
The lead would hold until the final whistle, as NCFC celebrated its first win of the USL season in front of its traveling fans.
North Carolina FC will face a nearly week-long road trip to Canada with two matches over the course of four days. NCFC will play Toronto FC II on Wednesday, April 18 before playing Ottawa Fury FC on Saturday, April 21.
The match marked the first league contest between North Carolina FC and Charlotte Independence. However, the rivalry goes much deeper with regular Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup matches the last three years and a historical rivalry from the 1990s between the Raleigh Flyers and Charlotte Eagles.
Four players with North Carolina ties started for NCFC – NCFC Youth Academy product and Raleigh, N.C., native Dre Fortune, Greenville, N.C., native Michael Harrington, Winston Salem, N.C., native and team co-captain Austin da Luz and long-time Rocky Mount, N.C., resident Futty Danso. Additionally, NCFC Youth Academy product DJ Taylor came on as a substitute in the 89th minute.
Daniel Rios scored the second goal in his NCFC career with the opening goal of the game in the 50th minute.
Marios Lomis recorded his first goal for NCFC, netting an insurance goal in the 86th minute.
Donovan Ewolo made his first start for NCFC and played 76 minutes before being subbed off.
Nelson Blanco made the bench for NCFC, marking his first time in the 18 for the team.
CLT: (4-5-1):Andrew Dkystra; Bilal Duckett, Joel Johnson, Henry Kalungi (Sam Vines, 49’), Donnie Smith; Kay Voser (Eamon Zayed, 64’), Kevan George (Yann Ekra 78’), Cordell Cato, Alex Martinez, Jorge Herrera; Caleb Calvert
Subs not sued: Brandon Miller, Jake Areman, Greg Jordan, Richie Perez
NCFC: (4-4-2):Alex Tambakis; Peabo Doue, Michael Harrington, Futty Danso, Steven Miller; Austin da Luz ©, Dre Fortune, Graham Smith, Kyle Bekker (DJ Taylor, 89’); Daniel Rios (Marcel Kandziora 67’,) Donovan Ewolo (Marios Lomis, 76’)
Subs not used: Austin Guerrero, Bernhard Luxbacher, Wuilito Fernandes, Nelson Blanco
NCFC: Daniel Rios (unassisted, 50’) Marios Lomis (unassisted, 86’)
CLT: Alex Martinez 7’, Donnie Smith 85’
NCFC: Peabo Doue 59’, Dre Fortune 61’