CARY, N.C. (April 28, 2018) – North Carolina FC scored a trio of first-half goals in an eight-minute span to defeat Penn FC 3-0 at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park Saturday night, extending its unbeaten run to four matches.
“Important result,” NCFC head coach Colin Clarke said. “Go on the road for three, come back home, it’s important to back that up, and obviously for us we wanted to win in front of our fans. With the break coming up, all of those little things just made it even more important than it was. But a massive three points and a great performance.”
The victory, the first at home in 2018 for NCFC (2W-3L-2D), was powered by goals from Austin da Luz, Kyle Bekker and Daniel Rios between the 29th and 37th minutes, as Penn FC struggled to cope with the NCFC attack.
Bekker finished with a goal and two assists and was responsible for creating NCFC’s first goal of the match.
Positioned on the right flank, Bekker played in a precise cross, which Austin da Luz tracked down and headed home for his first score of the season.
Six minutes later, it was Bekker who did the scoring, as he converted a Peabo Doue cross at the back post.
NCFC wrapped up its goal barrage in the 37th minute thanks to Daniel Rios’ fourth tally of the season, which was made possible by Bekker’s determination. After having his own shot blocked, Bekker tracked down the rebound and fed Rios, who fired into an empty net.
Already ahead by one goal, NCFC took complete control of the match with Bekker’s goal in the 35th minute. Although Doue’s cross was initially intended for Rios, Bekker did well to position himself near the back post, where he finished from just a few yards out.
NCFC scored three goals in an eight-minute span against Penn FC. Prior to Saturday’s match, Penn FC had conceded just three goals in its first five matches of the season.
They Said It:
“We knew that we owed these fans a result," said Kyle Bekker. "You could see it at the beginning of the week: everybody knew we had something to prove. We hadn’t been happy with our performances, especially at home. Tonight we came out and kind of showed that everybody’s coming together, and we’re on the right foot.”
After a two-week break, NCFC will begin Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup play on Wednesday, May 16, at 7 p.m. at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park against either the Brooklyn Italians, New York Cosmos B or Lansdowne Bhoys.
NCFC will then resume USL action on the road against FC Cincinnati on Saturday, May 19, at 7:30 p.m.
– Three 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. Additionally, Raleigh, N.C. natives and NCFC Youth Academy products D.J. Taylor and Dre Fortune each made the bench for the team, with Fortune appearing as a substitute.
– Daniel Rios has now scored four goals in his last five matches.
– NCFC’s three goals are the most the club has scored in a match since Oct. 1, 2017, when it won 5-0 against Indy Eleven.
– NCFC recorded its third shutout of the season.
– With his 16th career goal for NCFC, Austin da Luz is now in sole possession of seventh place on the club’s all-time scoring list, passing Pablo Campos.
NCFC (4-4-2): Alex Tambakis; Peabo Doue, Michael Harrington, Futty Danso, Steven Miller; Austin da Luz ©, Marcel Kandziora, Graham Smith, Kyle Bekker (Bernhard Luxbacher, 89’), Daniel Rios (Dre Fortune, 84’), Donovan Ewolo (Marios Lomis, 84’)
Subs not used: Austin Guerreo, Wuilito Fernandes, DJ Taylor, Aaron Guillen
PEN: (4-4-2): Romuald Peiser; Jake Bond, Ken Tribbet (Miguel Jaime, 83’) ©, Tiago Calvano, Harri Hawkins; Mauro Eustaquio, Richard Menjivar (Pedro Galvao, 46’), Freddie Opoku, Jerry Ortiz (Aaron Dennis, 46’); Lucky Mkosana, Tommy Heinemann
Subs not used: Sean Lewis, Kyle Venter, Marco Franco, Salim Muhammad
NCFC: Austin da Luz (Kyle Bekker, 29’), Kyle Bekker (Peabo Doue, 35’), Daniel Rios (Kyle Bekker, 37’)
NCFC: Marcel Kandziora 66’, Steve Miller 75’
PEN: Mauro Eustaquio 40’, Jake Bond 49’