Montclair, N.J. (August 21, 2018) – North Carolina FC battled from behind to level the match on two different occasions to secure a 2-2 draw against New York Red Bulls II on Tuesday night at MSU Soccer Park. The result moves NCFC (8W-9L-7D, 31 points) to just four points away from a playoff spot.
The game started quietly, as NCFC sat deep, opting to hold back an eager New York attack. NCFC began to get involved in the attack as the game progressed and created several chances later in the half. However, Marcel Kandziora’s acrobatic attempt in the 28th minute was off target and Daniel Rios’ on-target strike in the 37th minute was saved.
On the other side of the field, New York took its chance and scored with a well-placed shot in the 39th minute. José Aguinaga found space from nearly 20 yards out at the top of the box and unleashed a low, pacey effort toward the bottom corner of the goal. Aguinaga’s shot slid just past the outstretched arm of NCFC goalkeeper Alex Tambakis before clipping the post and bouncing into the net.
New York’s lead held through halftime, but immediately following the break, NCFC found an equalizer through Daniel Rios in the 46th minute. Scoring his 13th goal of the USL season, Rios was in the right place at the right time. The Mexican loanee tucked home a cross from Kandziora just a few yards out from goal.
The score wouldn’t hold long though, as Red Bulls II found another goal just six minutes later. Lucas Stauffer completed a far-post run and chipped Tambakis to restore New York’s lead.
Following a red card to New York’s Ben Mines in the 70th minute, forcing Red Bulls II to go down to 10 men, NCFC pressed hard for another goal.
NCFC dominated the rest of the match while searching for the equalizer. The team came close several times as time winded down, but were forced to wait until the 90th minute. The side completed its second comeback of the night and notched the equalizer via Donovan Ewolo. After Marios Lomis forced a diving save from Red Bulls II goalkeeper, Evan Louro, Ewolo cleaned up the rebound to level the match with his third goal of the year.
The sides played out the final five minutes of stoppage time without a goal, and NCFC clinched the come-from-behind draw to earn another valuable point in the playoff race.
NCFC returns to Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park following the road trip to take on the Charlotte Independence in a Southern Derby rivalry match on Saturday, August 25 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.
Daniel Rios scored his 13th goal of the season, putting him into a four-way tie for second place in the USL Golden Boot race.
Marcel Kandziora notched his first assist of the season on Rios’ goal.
Donovan Ewolo scored his third goal of the season.
NCFC (4-5-1): Alex Tambakis; Aaron Guillen, Michael Harrington, Connor Tobin ©, Dj Taylor; Marcel Kandziora (Marios Lomis, 59’), Austin da Luz, Graham Smith (Donovan Ewolo, 87’), Kyle Bekker, Steven Miller (Tiyi Shipalane, 73’); Daniel Rios
Subs not used: Austin Guerrero, Dre Fortune, Peabo Doue
NYRB II (4-2-3-1): Evan Louro, Allen Yanes, Fidel Escobar, Hassan Ndam, Lucas Stauffer; Steven Echevverria (Christian Casseres Jr., 73’), Christopher Lema; Jared Stroud, Andrew Tinari ©, Jose’ Aguinaga (Wahab Ackwei, 78’); Anatole Abang (Benjamin Mines, 65’)
Subs not used: Kevin Poltz, Scott Levene
NCFC: Daniel Rios (Marcel Kandziora, 46’), Donovan Ewolo (unassisted, 90’)
NY: Jose’ Aguinaga (Andrew Tinari, 39’), Lucas Stauffer (Jose’ Aguinaga, 53’)
NCFC: Austin da Luz 43’, Kyle Bekker 61’, Connor Tobin 68’, Graham Smith 76’
NY: Jared Stroud 47’, Christian Casseres Jr. 81’, Lucas Stauffer 88’
NY: Benjamin Mines 69’