INDIANAPOLIS (August 15, 2018) –North Carolina FC came back to level the match from a 2-0 deficit, but a 90th-minute goal sealed the victory for the Indy Eleven on Wednesday night at Lucas Oil Stadium.
NCFC (8W-9L-6D, 30 points) dominated play for most of the match, out-possessing Indy 56.9-43.1 percent and holding a 24-15 advantage in shots, but clinical finishing from the home side allowed Indy to snatch all three points from the contest, ending NCFC’s six-match unbeaten run.
NCFC was forced to fight back against an early deficit as Indy’s Eugene Starikov struck in the seventh minute to take a 1-0 lead. Starikov finished off a cross from Jack McInerney from a few yards out for the goal.
Despite giving up the early tally, NCFC showed strong resolve to find the equalizer. In the 21st minute, NCFC’s pressure nearly paid off. Marcel Kandziora was the beneficiary of some excellent buildup play and unleashed a shot that slid under Indy goalkeeper Owain Fon Williams, but a goal-line clearance from Carlyle Mitchell kept the ball out of the back of net.
In the 29th minute, Kandziora had another excellent chance that unfortunately went inches past the post and out of play.
Just minutes later, Indy doubled their advantage with a strike from distance. Ben Speas, the former UNC-Chapel Hill player, unleashed a rocket from 28 yards out. His shot flew into the top corner of the net, giving Indy a 2-0 lead.
Despite going down two goals, NCFC fought hard to get back into the match and was rewarded in the final stages of the first half. Off a free kick, Kyle Bekker dipped his shot over the wall and into the bottom corner of the net for his third goal of the season.
Following the restart for the second half, the visitors dominated possession and chances throughout before turning the momentum into a goal. Wuilito Fernandes, who entered the match in the 74th minute, set up Marios Lomis in the 77th minute to level the match. Fernandes flicked a perfectly-weighted ball into the path of Lomis, who headed home his fifth goal of the season.
After scoring two unanswered goals, NCFC seemed to have the momentum and pushed for a game-winning goal. However, in the dying moments of the match, the Indy Eleven crafted a final look at goal. After a corner kick left the ball bouncing on the turf, Juan Guerra took control of the loose ball. From just a few yards out, the wide-open Guerra tucked his shot into the corner of the net to give Indy the lead for good.
NCFC pushed numbers forward for a final attacking chance, but a stoppage-time goal wasn’t on the cards, as Indy walked away with the victory.
NCFC concludes its road swing with a visit to New York Red Bulls II on Tuesday, August 21 at 7 p.m. ET. The match will be played at MSU Soccer Park in Montclair, N.J. The two teams have never met before.
NCFC Youth Academy products Dre Fortune and DJ Taylor both featured in the Starting XI.
Kyle Bekker tallied his third goal of the season off a free kick in the first half.
Marios Lomis scored his fifth league goal of the season off an assist from Wuilito Fernandes.
Indy’s roster featured a few familiar names as former Carolina RailHawks player Matt Watson captained Indy and Ben Speas, a former UNC-Chapel Hill player, also started in Indy’s lineup. Additionally, another former RailHawk, Brad Rusin, is a member of Indy Eleven’s roster, but was not selected to the team sheet.
NCFC also faced a former coach in current Indy head coach Martin Rennie, who spent 2009-11 as the head coach of the Carolina RailHawks.
IND (4-4-2): Owain Fon Williams; Ayoze, Kevin Venegas, Reiner Ferreira, Carlyle Mitchell; Nico Matern, Juan Guerra, Benjamin Speas (Seth Moses, 62’), Matt Watson ©; Eugene Starikov (Elliot Collier, 84’), Jack McInerney (Soony Saad, 74’)
Subs not used: Ben Lundgaard, Brad Ring, Karl Ouimette, Zach Steinberger
NCFC (4-5-1): Alex Tambakis; Aaron Guillen, Michael Harrington, Connor Tobin ©, DJ Taylor; Marcel Kandziora (Wuilito Fernandes, 74’), Austin da Luz, Dre Fortune, Kyle Bekker, Steven Miller (Marios Lomis, 46’); Donovan Ewolo (Daniel Rios, 87’)
Subs not used: Austin Guerrero, Tiyi Shipalane, Cameron Steele, Peabo Doue
IND: Eugene Starikov (Jack McInerney, 7’), Benjamin Speas (Unassisted, 31’), Juan Guerra (Unassisted, 90’)
NCFC: Kyle Bekker (Unassisted, 45’+1), Marios Lomis (Wuilito Fernandes, 77’)
IND: Carlyle Mitchell 45’