Three Goals in Fifteen Minutes Sees NCFC Pick Up Three Points
By Jaden Dakwa – LA Soccer Press
North Carolina FC were able to score three goals in the span of 15 minutes in the second half to secure a 3-2 victory over Richmond Kickers on Wednesday evening at WakeMed Soccer Park.
North Carolina FC forward Shakeem Adams was able to dip past a defender in the 12th minute and strike a curling effort towards goal. Richmond Kickers goalkeeper Akira Fitzgerald produced a diving save to keep the scoreline level.
Louis Perez had another effort on goal for North Carolina FC in the 16th minute, but Fitzgerald once again was able to get low to make another diving save.
In the 29th minute, Richmond Kickers’ Joao Gomeiro received the ball and hit a curling chip from about 25 yards out that looped over the head of North Carolina FC goalkeeper Nick Holliday.
Gomeiro doubled the Richmond Kickers’ advantage in the 32nd minute when Simon Fitch played the ball back in the box for Gomeiro, who hit a one-time strike into the side net.
North Carolina FC’s Rafa Mentzingen hit a shot from long distance in the 37th minute that just glanced over the bar.
Richmond Kickers’ Matthew Bentley was nearly able to extend the advantage to three in the 45th minute, but his shot glanced just wide of the post.
Oalex Anderson and Jaden Servania both came on in the outset of the second half to replace Shak Adams and Raheem Somersall, respectively.
Oalex Anderson was able to turn and hit a half volley that struck off the post into the net in the 62nd minute to half the deficit.
In the 66th minute, North Carolina FC nearly equalized after Rafa Mentzingen hit a low strike that was saved and second half substitute Garrett McLaughlin was able to follow up on the rebound. Richmond Kickers goalkeeper Akira Fitzgerald was able to produce a double save to keep the Kickers in the lead.
Rafa Mentzingen hit another low effort on goal in the 73rd minute that was saved, but this time Louis Perez was able to follow up on the rebound and he was able to find the back of the net to draw the scoreline level at 2-2.
Louis Perez sent in a cross during the 76th minute that Garrett McLaughin was able to get on the end of the ball to score a diving header.
North Carolina FC was able to seal the victory and complete a three goal comeback to secure three points.
North Carolina FC defender Gustavo Fernandes spoke about the message given to the team at halftime.
“The message was just simple, you know, just believe in ourselves,” Fernandes said. “I think everyone on the team holds each other to a high standard. We know we shouldn’t be giving up goals the way we did. We shouldn’t be down in games two to zero.”
North Carolina FC forward Garrett McLaguhlin believes the substitutes that came on in the second half alongside himself helped to change the game.
“Yeah, I mean, you know, two subs at half I think it was Oalex and Jaden,” McLaughlin said. “Oalex just brings a bunch of pace and off the kickoff he’s already drawing fouls. Same with J [Jaden Servania] he’s very creative. They definitely helped in giving us three goals in one half.”
North Carolina FC head coach John Bradford believes the energy increased in the second half which helped the team in possession and out of possession.
“Yeah, I think that it’s attributed to energy as well,” Bradford said. “You know, I mean, it felt a little stagnant in the first half and the second half. It felt like on both sides of the ball in possession and defensively, we were more active, we made it harder for them to play, and we got down and to close down players a little bit faster.”
North Carolina FC will return to action on Sunday, May 21st to take on Charlotte Independence for the Dogwood Derby in Charlotte, NC at American Legion Memorial Stadium.
Dakwa holds a BS in Journalism from Elon University. He writes about North Carolina professional soccer for L.A. Soccer Press. Follow him at @JDakwa on Twitter.