HARRISBURG, Penn. (September 16, 2018) – North Carolina FC captured an important three points in the playoff race with a 1-0 shutout victory over Penn FC at FNB Field in Harrisburg, Penn., on Sunday night.
The team remains in 10th place in the USL Eastern Conference standings and moves to 38 points, just three points away from the eighth and final playoff spot. NCFC has six matches left in the regular season.
After Penn FC controlled possession in the opening stretch, a lightning-fast counter attack gave NCFC the 1-0 lead and momentum in the 11th minute. The newly-signed Victor Igbekoyi forced a turnover in Penn FC’s half and served Daniel Rios a perfectly-weighted through ball. The USL’s second-leading goal scorer made the most of the chance and buried his shot at the far post for the opening goal.
The duo combined again to find the back of the net right before the halftime whistle, but the offside flag denied NCFC a second goal.
Following the halftime break, a resolute NCFC defense stood tall and limited Penn FC in the final third. The home side only placed one shot on target in the final 45 minutes.
With time winding down, Penn FC had its most dangerous attempt of the game. From the edge of the box, Walter Ramírez whipped a free kick toward to bottom corner of the frame. Despite having his view partially blocked, Tambakis’ placement and reflexes allowed him to stop the shot and end the threat.
NCFC played out the remaining minutes to clinch the much-needed victory and move one step closer to the playoffs. The win also marked NCFC’s seventh shutout of the season.
North Carolina FC will take on Atlanta United 2 on Friday, Sept. 21 at 7 p.m. at Coolray Field in Atlanta as the team continues its playoff push. NCFC will return home to face regional rival the Richmond Kickers on Saturday, Sept. 29. Tickets are available online, over the phone at 919-459-8144 or in-person at the Coastal Credit Union Box Office.
After signing with the club in late August, Victor Igbekoyi made his NCFC debut, starting in the midfield. The Nigerian tallied an assist on Daniel Rios’ goal in the first half.
Alex Tambakis made two saves to earn his seventh shutout of the season.
Rios tucked home his 17th goal of the season, the number is good for sole possession of second place in the USL.
PEN: Romuald Peiser; Pedro Galvao (Walter Ramirez, 45’), Kenneth Tribbett © (Haruna Shaibu, 57’), Kyle Venter, Marco Franco; Dan Metzger (Isaac Osae, 45’), Richard Menjivar, Miguel Jaime; Aaron Dennis, Lucky Mkosana, Paulo Junior
Subs not used: Calvin Rezende, Sean Lewis, Jake Bond, Saalih Muhammad
NCFC: Alex Tambakis; DJ Taylor, Aaron Guillen, Wuilito Fernandes, Steven Miller; Austin da Luz ©, Kyle Bekker, Graham Smith, Zach Steinberger, Victor Igbekoyi (Tiyi Shipalane, 63’); Daniel Rios (Donovan Ewolo, 45’)
Subs not used: Austin Guerrero, Dre Fortune, Marios Lomis, Peabo Doue
NCFC: Daniel Rios (Victor Igbekoyi, 11’)
PEN: Haruna Shaibu 84’
NCFC: Donvan Ewolo 90+