Nashville, Tenn. (June 16, 2018) – North Carolina FC battled until the end, but a 94th-minute goal saw Nashville SC sneak by with a 1-0 result on Saturday night at First Tennessee Park.
North Carolina FC’s defense led the way with an inspired performance to deny the hosts for much of the contest. However, on the final touch of the game, Nashville forward Ropapa Mensah scored to clinch the result.
Prior to the game’s lone goal, the match featured exciting end-to-end play with chances throughout, but excellent goalkeeping displays from both sides kept the score line level.
In the 30th minute, Marios Lomis had NCFC’s best chance of the game. Lomis got his head on a perfectly-crossed ball from Aaron Gullien. The shot was put on frame with pace, but Nashville’s goalkeeper, Matt Pickens, made a spectacular diving save to his left.
Nashville jumped out to a quick start after the halftime break and pushed hard for the goal. However, NCFC’s backline stood strong and soaked up the pressure. While Nashville maintained its advantage in possession and chances created, a defensive-minded NCFC side continued to limit the home side to half chances and missed shots.
In the final minute of extra time, Nashville earned a free kick about 30 yards from goal. Michael Reed crossed the ball to the far post where Bradley Bourgeois headed it back across the mouth of goal. The pass found Mensah, who bodied the ball in the net. The final whistle followed seconds later, ending any chance for a late comeback.
North Carolina FC will return home to face Louisville City FC on Saturday, June 23 at 7 p.m. for Pride Night at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park. Tickets are available online, over the phone at 919-459-8144 or in person at the Coastal Credit Union Box Office.
- NCFC Youth Academy product DJ Taylor started and played the full 90 minutes for NCFC, while fellow Academy product Dre Fortune and former NCFC U-23 player Cameron Steele both appeared on NCFC’s bench.
- Former NCFC player Bolu Akinyode started in the midfield for Nashville. Akinyode spent the 2017 season with the club.
NSH (4-1-4-1): Matt Pickens; Justin Davis, Liam Doyle, Bradley Bourgeois, Kosuke Kimura; Bolu Akinyode, Ismaila Jome, Michael Reed ©, Matt Lagrassa (Alan Winn, 79’); Brandon Allen (Ropapa Mensah, 68’)
Subs not used: Taylor Washington, Robin Shroot, Micah Bledsoe, Ryan James, London Woodberry
NCFC (4-4-2): Alex Tambakis; Aaron Guillen, Michael Harrington, Connor Tobin ©, DJ Taylor; Austin da Luz (Kyle Bekker, 72’), Marcel Kandziora, Graham Smith, Steven Miller; Daniel Rios (Tiyi Shipalane, 72’), Marios Lomis (Donovan Ewolo, 87’)
Subs not used: Austin Guerrero, Dre Fortune, Wuilito Fernandes, Cameron Steele
NSH: Ropapa Mensah (Bradley Bourgeois, 94’)
NSH: Brandon Allen, 16’
NCFC: Austin da Luz, 37’, Steven Miller, 93’