CARY, N.C. (September 1, 2018) – North Carolina FC saw its seven-match home unbeaten run come to an end, as it fell 3-0 to the Tampa Bay Rowdies Saturday night at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park.
The loss was NCFC’s first at home since June 9.
“I thought early on we dominated possession, moved [the ball] very well, created some chances,” NCFC coach Colin Clarke said. “And then gave up a bad goal. From there, it was a struggle.”
After the opening kick, both teams struggled to settle into the match, but NCFC threatened with a flurry of corner kicks in the opening 20 minutes.
However, the visitors opened up the scoring in the 23rd minute thanks to a tally from Sebastian Guenzatti off an assist from Junior Flemmings.
NCFC nearly responded right away in the 27th minute, as midfielder Steven Miller spotted Zack Steinberger making a run toward goal, and threaded a pass past the Tampa Bay back line. Steinberger fired away from a tight angle, but Rowdies goalkeeper Daniel Vega alertly charged off his line and deflected the shot away.
Steinberger, who scored twice on his club debut last week against Charlotte, once again threatened in the 38th minute, but his header off a cross from right back D.J. Taylor flew high.
As halftime approached, midfielder Kyle Bekker came close to equalizing. With space at the edge of the box, the Canadian let loose on a powerful strike that Tampa Bay’s Vega got a piece of, as the ball rolled just wide of the left post.
Tampa doubled its lead just before the halftime whistle, once again through the Flemmings-to-Guenzatti connection, and NCFC went into the break down by a pair of goals.
In the 56th minute, Guenzatti found the back of the net to extend the visitors’ advantage.
As the match progressed, NCFC consistently found itself in attacking positions in the second half but couldn’t find the back of the net despite outshooting Tampa 22-9 and having the advantage in shots on target (6-4).
NCFC closes a three-game home stretch against Nashville SC on Saturday, Sept. 8 at 5 p.m. ET at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park. The match is the first of two games that evening, as the North Carolina Courage will host the Houston Dash at 7:30 p.m. to complete the first ever North Carolina Football Club doubleheader.
– Saturday’s match marked the first time NCFC did not earn a point at home since June 9.
– Forward Marios Lomis and midfielder Tiyi Shipalane appeared as second-half substitutes.
– NCFC took 11 corner kicks to Tampa Bay’s one.
– With eight regular-season games remaining, NCFC (9W-10L-7D, 34 points) is four points out of an Eastern Conference playoff spot.
NCFC (4-5-1):Alex Tambakis;Aaron Guillen, Wuilito Fernandes (Marios Lomis, 68’), Connor Tobin ©, DJ Taylor; Steven Miller, Austin da Luz, Zach Steinberger, Graham Smith, Kyle Bekker (Tiyi Shipalane, 68’); Daniel Rios
Subs not used: Austin Guerrero, Michael Harrington, Peabo Doue, Marcel Kandziora, Dre Fortune
TBR (3-5-2): Daniel Vega; Hunter Gorskie, Tarek Morad, Zac Portillos; Afrim Taku, Kwadwo Poku (Max Lachowecki, 83’), Dom Oduro, Joe Cole © (Martin Vingaard, 74’); Leo Fernandes; Junior Flemmings, Sebastian Guenzatti (Georgi Hristov, 89’)
Subs not used: Akira Fitzgerald; Kyle Porter; Alex Morrell, Leon Taylor
TBR: Sebastian Guenzatti (Junior Flemmings, 23’, 43’, Leo Fernandes, 56’)
NCFC: Aaron Guillen 61’, Marios Lomis 76’, Connor Tobin 81’, Austin da Luz 90+’
TBR: Dominic Oduro 48’