TORONTO (April 18, 2018)– North Carolina FC battled Toronto FC II to a scoreless draw on Wednesday night at BMO Field to earn its second consecutive shutout of the season.
NCFC pushed a hungry Toronto FC II side to the brink in the closing stages of the match. However, the crossbar deflected a late NCFC shot from goal and Angelo Cavalluzzo, Toronto’s goalkeeper, came up with a point-blank save in the final minute of the match to keep the sides level. The draw brings NCFC to four points on the season, while Toronto has earned its first point of the 2018 season with the result.
The two sides grinded out a scoreless first half. Both teams combined for 11 first-half shots, but a steady effort from the defenses kept the match scoreless.
NCFC’s best chance of the opening half came in the 30th minute when Kyle Bekker pounced on a loose ball at the top of the box. Bekker’s shot seemed bound for the bottom corner, but a last-second deflection from the Toronto defense cleared the threat.
The second half continued with a lively end-to-end game. While rarely called upon, Alex Tambakis did well in goal, making four saves, including one from close range to keep the clean sheet.
NCFC increasingly pressured the Toronto goal as the match wore on. Marios Lomis nearly had the match winner in the 89th minute, but his shot careened off the crossbar and away from goal, marking the ninth time that NCFC has hit the frame this season.
In the final minute of the match, Bernhard Luxbacher found his way past the Toronto defense and in on goal, but a tight angle, combined with a strong save from Cavalluzzo, ended the threat for Toronto.
NCFC has now claimed at least a point from its last two matches and has gone 255 minutes without conceding a goal.
North Carolina FC will continue its Canadian road trip with a visit to Ottawa Fury FC on Saturday, April 21 at 2 p.m. ET at TD Place, reigniting another past rivalry. NCFC will return home next weekend and host Penn FC on Saturday, April 28 at 7 p.m. at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park.
The NCFC youth-to-pro pipeline was clearly evident, as NCFC Youth Academy products, Dre Fortune and DJ Taylor both started for NCFC.
Additionally, three other players with North Carolina ties started for NCFC – 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.
Kyle Bekker returned to face his former organization and played 89 minutes. Toronto FC drafted Bekker third overall in the 2013 MLS Superdraft. Bekker played with Toronto FC from 2013-14 and made 29 MLS appearances.
NCFC has now gone 255 minutes without conceding a goal, giving Alex Tambakis and the NCFC defense two shutouts on the season.
TOR: (4-4-2): Angelo Cavalluzzo; Brandon Onkony, Kyle Bjornethun, Rocco Romeo, Robert Boskovic; Noble Okello, Alan Mino, Gideon Waja (Luca Uccello, 84’), Kunle Dada-Luke (Ayo Akinola, 72’); Shaan Hundal (Malik Johnson, 64’), Aidan Daniels ©
Subs not sued: Gianluca Catalano, Tim Kubel, Steffen Yeates, Aikim Andrews
NCFC: (4-5-1): Alex Tambakis; Peabo Doue, Michael Harrington, Futty Danso, DJ Taylor; Austin da Luz ©, Dre Fortune (Marcel Kandziora, 63’), Graham Smith, Kyle Bekker (Bernhard Luxbacher, 90+’), Steven Miller; Donovan Ewolo (Marios Lomis, 74’)
Subs not used: Austin Guerrero, Wuilito Fernandes, Aaron Guillen, Daniel Rios
TOR: Kyle Bjornethun 5’
NCFC: Marcel Kandziora 78’