CARY, N.C. (June 2, 2018) – North Carolina FC saw its four-match home winning streak come to a close Saturday evening as it ended up on the wrong side of a 2-1 result against Bethlehem Steel FC at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park despite controlling much of the action.
“Bitterly disappointed,” NCFC head coach Colin Clarke said. “We’ve done a lot of very, very good things. Particularly in the first half, I thought we moved [the ball] when we passed it – some of our passing was very, very good. In a one-nil there’s always that opportunity [to give up a goal]. We didn’t do a good enough job of getting ourselves organized for the last 15 minutes of the game.”
The night started off well for NCFC, as Clarke’s team continued its trend of scoring early. NCFC opened up the scoring in the 16th minute, thanks to left back Peabo Doue’s first goal for the club. Positioned near the back post as midfielder Kyle Bekker sent in a corner kick, Doue saw the ball roll past a bevy of bodies before finishing from just a few yards out.
Bekker’s assist was his sixth of the season, a team-high.
Right out of the halftime break, Alex Tambakis, who had a relatively quiet night up to that point thanks to his defense, came up with an important save in the 48th minute. As Bethlehem’s Chris Nanco broke through for a one-on-one scoring opportunity, Tambakis alertly came flying off of his line and deflected the shot away.
After NCFC closely missed out on multiple opportunities to go ahead by two goals, Bethlehem Steel FC equalized in the 83rd minute on a goal from defender Ben Ofeimu. Two minutes later, the visitors added a second goal as midfielder Michee Ngalina scored from close range.
NCFC will attempt to prolong its Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup run when it travels to face D.C. United at the Maryland SoccerPlex in Boyds, Md., in the fourth round of the competition Tuesday night at 7 p.m. NCFC will return to Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park to host FC Cincinnati on Saturday, June 9 at 7 p.m. Tickets are available online, over the phone at 919-459-8144 or in person at the Coastal Credit Union Box Office.
Ahead 1-0 and in control of the match, NCFC nearly doubled its advantage in the 55th minute thanks to Bekker, who stepped into a strong shot from the top of the 18-yard box. His effort had a considerable amount of power behind it, but went straight into the arms of Bethlehem goalkeeper Jake McGuire, as NCFC nearly picked up a crucial second goal.
In a game that NCFC controlled for the first 80-plus minutes, NCFC outshout Bethlehem 18-8.
– For the third consecutive game, NCFC scored within the opening 20 minutes.
– Center back Connor Tobin made his first USL start of the season.
– Midfielder Kyle Bekker has now recorded at least one assist in five of his last six games.
– The match was the first ever between the two teams.
– Forward Marios Lomis, midfielder Dre Fortune and midfielder Tiyi Shipalane each appeared as substitutes for NCFC.
NCFC (4-4-2): Alex Tambakis; Peabo Doue, Michael Harrington, Connor Tobin, DJ Taylor; Austin da Luz ©, Marcel Kandziora (Tiyi Shipalane, 87’), Graham Smith, Kyle Bekker; Daniel Rios (Dre Fortune, 80'), Donovan Ewolo (Marios Lomis, 68’)
Subs not used: Austin Guerrero, Aaron Guillen, Wuilito Fernandes, Cameron Steele
BST (4-2-3-1): Jake McGuire; Matt Real, Brandon Aubrey, Ben Ofeimu, Matt Mahoney; James Chambers ©, Adam Najem, Santi Moar, Fabian Herbers (Drew Skundrich, 61’), Michee Ngalina (Mike Catalano, 90+’); Aidan Apodaca (Chris Nanco, 45+’)
Subs not used: Prosper Chiluya, AJ Paterson,
NCFC: Peabo Doue (Kyle Bekker, 16’)
BST: Ben Ofeimu (Santi Moar, 83’), Michee Ngalina (Santi Moar, 85’)
NCFC: Connor Tobin 57’, Michael Harrington 67’, Austin da Luz 89’
BST: Adam Najem 25’,